Insulin Manufacturers Called on to Explain Skyrocketing Prices

2/6/19
WRITTEN BY: Todd Boudreaux
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On Tuesday, a group of U.S. Senators led by Patty Murray (D-WA) sent letters to executives at the “Big Three” insulin manufacturers — Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi — demanding information about the rising prices of insulin in the United States.

The letter reads in part:

“According to the World Health Organization, insulin is an essential medicine, meaning that access to this drug at a price that individuals and communities can afford is a basic requirement of a functioning health care system. Unfortunately, rapidly increasing insulin prices mean that for many patients, access to this essential medicine is threatened. Patients have had to resort to desperate measures when confronted with increased insulin prices or high cost-sharing for their prescriptions. Some patients have turned to GoFundMe pages to request help paying for insulin, and one in four diabetic patients report rationing the medication because of the cost, with potentially devastating consequences. It is clear these steep price increases are resulting in patients lacking access to the life-saving medications they need.”

There has been increased attention recently over the skyrocketing prices of insulin, with stories of insulin rationing becoming all too common. The news comes on the heels of several prominent politicians wading into the insulin pricing debate.

Last December, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., released a statement detailing a handful of new guidances designed to increase competition and bring down prices across the insulin market. In January, a congressman introduced the “Insulin Access For All” act for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. And on Monday, January 14, The House Oversight Committee announced that they are investigating the actions of a dozen pharmaceutical companies. Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi are among the companies the panel is seeking detailed drug price information from.

The letters (available below) were also signed by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

  • A PDF of the letter to Eli Lilly is available HERE
  • A PDF of the letter to Novo Nordisk is available HERE
  • A PDF of the letter to Sanofi is available HERE

If you or someone you know needs help getting insulin, click here.


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Todd Boudreaux

Todd was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been unofficially advocating for T1D ever since. Before joining the team at Beyond Type 1, Todd wrote and produced television shows for Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and Animal Planet. When he’s not in the office, you can usually find him at a baseball game, traveling or drawing on his Etch A Sketch. You can also follow him on Instagram.