Over the 4 year, US insulin prices doubled: diabetics take extreme measures
Over the past 4 years, insulin prices have almost doubled, with the result that many people with diabetes are forced to take extreme measures. Writes about it USA Today.
The Mindy Patterson family of Columbus, Ohio pays almost 1000 dollars a month for insulin. Her husband Rock, 47 years old, and her two sons, 19-year-old Pierce and 14-year-old Martin, suffer from 1 type diabetes and need insulin daily.
But the medicines they depend on so desperately are expensive.
The family pays for insulin monthly from 300 to 400 dollars per person from their own funds.
“It's really expensive,” Mindy, 49, said.
According to her, without medical insurance, her family will pay about 5000 dollars a month for medicines that they need.
In people with 1 type diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce insulin. According to the nonprofit institute of medical expenses, patients with this disease require several doses of insulin per day, it will cost $ 5 705 per person at 2016 prices, which is $ 2841 more than in 2012 year.
According to a survey conducted in 2018 by UpWell Health from Salt Lake City, which provides home delivery of drugs and medicines for the treatment of chronic diseases, treatment costs continue to rise.
"Insulin prices have doubled in four years," said Kathy Passoon, director of the Ohio Central Diabetes Association. "And they keep growing."
The rising cost of insulin has attracted close attention from members of both parties in Congress.
All people with 1 type diabetes and some with 2 type, whose body does not produce insulin as it should, need a drug.
According to the 2017 National Diabetes Statistical Report of the Year, more than 30,3 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes, and from 90% to 95% of them suffer from type 2 diabetes. Unlike people with 1 type diabetes, people with 2 type can often reduce their dependence on insulin through a healthier diet and exercise.
“As extreme as it sounds, if I don't get insulin, I’ll die,” said Anthony Meyer, 29, who has type 1 diabetes.
After insurance, he pays 240 dollars for one pack of insulin, which lasts for nine days.
"These people cannot be treated with anything but insulin," said Mayer, director of youth and family programs at the Ohio Central Diabetes Association.
Today, there are three manufacturers of insulin: Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Manufacturers set the price and negotiate with pharmacy managers, companies and insurers.
“It all comes down to pure greed,” Patterson said. - They stuff their pockets. They make a profit. "
When asked about their cost, insulin manufacturers said that most patients do not pay the list price for the drug.
Eli Lilly spokesman Greg Kuterman said the list price of the most commonly used insulin at Eli Lilly is currently $ 275 and in 2009 it was $ 99,65. He said that the last rise in prices for the company's products was in May 2017.
“In the vast majority of cases, people pay much less than the list price at the pharmacy,” he wrote.
Sanofi's net insulin price declined by 25% from 2012, but average drug costs for patients with private health insurance and Medicare rose by 60%, said Sanofi spokesman John Florio.
Novo Nordisk officials admitted that more and more patients are forced to pay the price of the price list, but not the majority.
Ohio lawmakers are trying to make insulin more affordable.
Ohio Rep. Beth Liston, a Democrat, introduced a package of bills about insulin pricing about a month ago.
A law on insulin availability would limit the cost of insulin provided by health plans to $ 100 per 30-day supply. Under the House of Representatives bill, the Ohio Attorney General must advise on insulin prices in the state.
“We need more transparency, and we need to see pricing more clearly,” Liston said.
Some people with diabetes begin to cut back on insulin so that they last for a long period, which also saves money.
This division of servings led to the death of Patterson's daughter-in-law Meagan Carter. In 2000, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and in 2014 she was admitted to a hospital with diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition in which her blood sugar becomes too high and her blood becomes acidic. This can be fatal in just a few hours or days.
“I think at that point she started to cut portions from time to time,” Patterson said. - She lost her job as a nurse in June 2018 and her health insurance along with her. As a result, she paid $ 900 a month for three ampoules of insulin, each of which lasted a week.
Carter got nauseous on Christmas Eve and developed symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis.
When her neighbor returned home from work on Christmas Day, she found Carter on the couch, but assumed that she was sleeping, and also went to bed. The next morning, a woman found Carter on the couch in the same place. She died at Christmas.
According to Patterson, when the Carter family cleaned her apartment, they found an empty insulin bottle and another that was barely started.
“She definitely cut portions,” Patterson said. "I have to fix it because I can't lose someone else."
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