Insulin Prices Are 8 Times Higher In The Us Than In 32 Other Nations Report Finds
SANTA MONICA, Calif. Mentioning prescription drugs prices in the United States is guaranteed to start a fiery debate. A new report is adding fuel to the fire after revealing the state of the nations insulin market. Researchers for the RAND Corporation find the common diabetes drug costs consumers over eight times more than it does in dozens of other high-income countries.
According to their research, the average price per unit across all versions of insulin in the U.S. was $98.70. This study looks at the insulin prices across 32 nations and notes prices skyrocketed in America between 2012 and 2016. One federal report adds average wholesale-acquisition prices for insulin jumped by 15 to 17 percent each year during this time. That includes prices for rapid-acting, long-acting, and short-acting insulins in the U.S.
When it comes to prices patients are actually paying, researchers for the non-profit policy think tank say annual insulin spending doubled from $1,432 to $2,853 for adults with employer-sponsored health insurance during these four years.
This analysis provides the best available evidence about how much more expensive insulin is in the U.S. than in other nations around the world, says lead study author Andrew Mulcahy in a press release. Prices in the U.S. are always much higher than other nations, even if you assume steep discounts to manufacturer prices in the United States.
Ban On Federal Negotiation
- Require a valid prescription
- Provide a physical address in the U.S.
- Are licensed by the state board of pharmacy in your state and the state where the pharmacy is operating
- Have a state-licensed pharmacist to answer your questions
Levitt noted that most medication sold in America is imported from other countries.
If we can do that safely it begs the question why people are saying we cant import low-cost medications safely, he said. The argument against it is often hyperbolic claims about unsafe drugs.
Affordable And Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act
Cities, counties, school districts and everyday consumers are not the only ones taking a stance on importation of prescription drugs.
The bill includes specific requirements to ensure the safety of imported drugs. Provisions include:
- FDA certification of foreign sellers
- a clear definition of what drugs may be imported
- supply chain security requirements
Senators and state representatives are proposing and supporting legislation that would lower the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Americans to import safe, low-cost medicine from Canada.
In February 2017, Sens. Bernie Sanders , Cory Booker and Bob Casey introduced the Affordable and Safe Prescription Importation Act.
The legislation would instruct the secretary of Health and Human Services to put forward regulations allowing wholesalers, pharmacies and individuals to import qualifying prescription drugs from licensed Canadian sellers.
It would also grant the secretary authority in two years to permit importation from countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that have standards for the approval and sale of prescription drugs that are comparable to those in the U.S.
Reps. Elijah E. Cummings and Lloyd Doggett introduced a companion bill in the House.
The new legislation would also target rogue online pharmacies a major concern among Americans who may consider getting their drugs from outside the U.S.
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To Drive Down Insulin Prices Who Will Certify Generic Versions
About 80 million people with diabetes around the world need the hormone, and half of them cant afford it. Creating competition could help, the agency said.
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With insulin prices skyrocketing and substantial shortages developing in poorer countries, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that it would begin testing and approving generic versions of the drug.
Agency officials said they hoped to drive down insulin prices by encouraging makers of generic drugs to enter the market, increasing competition. At the moment, the worlds insulin market is dominated by three companies Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi and they have steadily pushed up prices for two decades.
Four hundred million people are living with diabetes, the amount of insulin available is too low and the price is too high, so we really need to do something, Emer Cooke, the W.H.O.s head of regulation of medicines and health technologies, said as she announced the plan.
The approval process, which the W.H.O. calls prequalification, will permit United Nations agencies and medical charities like Doctors Without Borders to buy approved generic versions of insulin.
The process also will reassure countries without strong regulatory agencies that the approved drugs are safe for their health ministries to purchase.
Drugmakers Do This Because They Can
So insulins drug pricing problem is much bigger than anything one state or drug company alone can fix. But more changes in the market may be on the horizon.
The three major insulin makers Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi testified before the House Energy and Commerces oversight subcommittee last April, focusing more attention on the issue. Lawmakers, including Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden , have also been investigating the problem and sending letters to drug companies asking them to account for their outrageous price hikes.
But while the pressure around insulin may be mounting, were also seeing the terrible impact of rising insulin prices on patients: people being forced to taper off insulin so they can pay their medical bills, and winding up with kidney failure, blindness, or even death.
Some are forced to head to Canada, where drug prices are more heavily regulated and, according to the new NEJM editorial, where a carton of insulin costs $20 instead of the $300 patients often pay in the US. Of course, there isnt enough insulin in all of Canada to make large-scale importation feasible, the editorial authors wrote.
But not all insulins are patent-protected. For example, none of Eli Lillys insulins are, according to the drugmaker. In those cases, Luo said, potential manufacturers may be deterred by secondary patents on non-active ingredients in insulins or on associated devices .
Also Check: Long Acting Insulin Side Effects
The Human Cost Of Insulin In America
This is the list of what Laura Marston has sacrificed to keep herself alive: Her car, her furniture, her apartment, her retirement fund, her dog.
At 36 years old, she has already sold all of her possessions twice to afford the insulin her body needs every day.
Insulin is not like other drugs. It’s a natural hormone that controls our blood sugar levels – too high causes vision loss, confusion, nausea, and eventually, organ failure too low leads to heart irregularities, mood swings, seizures, loss of consciousness.
For most of us, our bodies produce insulin naturally. But for Type 1 diabetics like Ms Marston, insulin comes in clear glass vials, handed over the pharmacy counter each month – if they can afford it.
One vial of the insulin Ms Marston uses now costs $275 without health insurance.
In 1923, the discoverers of insulin sold its patent for $1, hoping the low price would keep the essential treatment available to everyone who needed it.
Now, retail prices in the US are around the $300 range for all insulins from the three major brands that control the market.
Even accounting for inflation, that’s a price increase of over 1,000%.
Stories of Americans rationing insulin – and dying for it – have been making national headlines.
Ms Marston knows the feeling – like most of the diabetics I spoke to, she has experienced frightening lapses in coverage through no fault of her own.
It’s the same story for Sanofi’s Apidra and Novo Nordisk’s Novolog.
Executive Orders On Drug Prices
After the first presidential debate, President Donald Trump claimed of insulin, Im getting it for so cheap its like water. The statement prompted questions about insulin prices following a spate of executive orders that Trump signed over the summer. These orders included language aimed at lowering insulin and other drug prices for Americans.
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C Price Capping Insulin
Another proposal to increase insulin affordability is price capping or price control. Price controls are laws which mandate âlimits on prices or government-required discounts on pricesâ. Such a law has already been passed in Colorado and has been proposed in several other states.
Price control policies may mandate drugs to a lower, more affordable price. The Health Affairs authors project massive cost savings if biologics were subject to price caps. A price control on insulin could have the same immediate effectâmassive cost savings for consumers.
However, manufacturers will look to recoup these costs in other ways. The mandated discountsâa form of price controlâunder Medicaid Medicare have been linked to increased prices for other consumers. If the price control applied to all consumers in the United States, it may incentivize manufacturers to withdraw or to raise prices in other less regulated markets. If price controls are applied only to government programs , this may exacerbate the existing affordability issues, lowering the cost for individuals with government-funded health insurance but increasing the cost of insulin for people with private insurance. Whether or not the insulin market is a natural monopoly, these potential price effects are concerning and could leave patients worse off than they started.
Reasons Why Insulin Is So Outrageously Expensive
20 Jan 2019, 6:08 p.m. in #insulin4all USA by T1International
Why does insulin cost so much to patients in the USA and around the world? Why is insulin, a widely sold drug of which most forms are now off-patent, so incredibly expensive? These are simple questions, but ones with a number of complicated answers. This post will break some of those answers down and point you in the direction further reading if you want to dive deeper.
1. Only 3 Companies Control 90% of the Global Insulin Market
The big three insulin producers Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi dominate more than 90% of the world insulin market by value. Often only one of these companies supplies insulin in a country, which means they more or less hold a monopoly there and can set prices as they wish. In some countries, notably China and India, there are domestic insulin companies that can help drive down the price. This means we need more companies in markets like the USA to help bring prices down. Well touch on that a bit further down the list.
2. No Generic Insulin
3.Pay-for-Delay Schemes & Lawsuits
6. Price Fixing
These Business Insider graphs pretty much say it all.
Several lawsuits alleging some form price-fixing are currently in the works. You can read more here and here.
7. Pharma Marketing Schemes
8. Payment for Influence
What Can be Done?
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Its Time Everyone Knows About Price Inequities In Insulin
As someone living in the United Kingdom whose daughter has had type 1 diabetes for over 40 years, I find it heartbreaking to know that globally, a lack of insulin is the main cause of death in children living with this condition. Even with this critical fact, there is still an apparent lack of awareness amongst the public, many health professionals and politicians that the issue of access to insulin even exists.
Insulin, which is the only effective medicine used to treat type 1 diabetes, is up to 74 percent higher-priced than other treatments for non-communicable diseases. Little is known as to why the price of insulin is so high, but it is thought to be a result of the global market domination by three multi-national pharmaceutical companies that control 99 percent of the global insulin market.
As a result of this, over the years, we have witnessed the withdrawals of various insulin formulations for commercial reasons. We have also seen a dramatic increase in the more expensive analogue insulins, which even the pharmaceutical companies have described as non-inferior to their predecessors.
Examining shifts in the global market, as well as their trickle-down effect on national health systems, is the key to unlocking some of the answers as to why the price of insulin has remained so high and out of reach to so many in need. Through our work on the ACCISS Study, I am looking forward to discovering some of these answers and ensuring insulin access for all.
Ranking The Best Insulin Pens Of 2021
An insulin pen is a compact medical device that enables people with diabetes to free themselves from the discomfort and inconvenience of the disposable syringe.
The insulin pen delivers carefully measured doses of insulin in seconds. There is no need to fumble with syringes and vials, no need to wonder if you have given yourself too much or too little insulin, and no need to draw unwanted attention when you are out and about.
The number of companies that produce insulin pens is relatively small, yet between them, they produce dozens of different models. We spent long hours researching each and determined that the following are the best insulin pens of 2021.
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Iv Challenges To Increasing Competition And Affordability In The Insulin Market
The reasons for the limited competition in the insulin market are unclear. This part examines the challenges to increasing competition and affordability in the insulin market, focusing on the issues specific to insulin and the interaction between the manufacturers and other players in the insulin market. Section A examines the legal and regulatory barriers to the approval of new insulin products, especially biosimilars. Section B discusses the challenges to obtain interchangeability approval for biosimilar and follow-on biologic insulin products and the impact on affordability. Section C highlights the barriers to entry in the insulin market, particularly for new companies, and the risks of, and anticipation of, anticompetitive conduct that prevent successful market entry.
How Much Would You Save On Prescriptions Abroad
Select a drug to see how its price compares in other countries.
Sources | Prices were recorded between August and September 2017 and May and June 2017. U.S. prices shown are retail cash prices listed on GoodRX.com. All other prices are from verified online pharmacies and their price comparisons on PharmacyChecker.com. Canadian prices are in U.S. dollars and come from PharmacyChecker.com 2Q | PharmacyChecker.com 3Q
* indicates price per three inhalers
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The Daily Money: Diabetics Pay Steep Prices For Insulin Will Congress Step In To Help
Good morning, Daily Money readers. Jayme Deerwester back with you this Monday.
In 1921, Canadian scientist Frederick Banting discovered insulin and later sold the patent to the University of Toronto for $1 declaring that the life-saving drug did not belong to him, “It belongs to the world.”
Now, 100 years later, the 8.4 million diabetics in the U.S. who rely on insulin pay an exorbitant amount of money for a drug that supposedly belongs to them. Between 2014 and 2018, the average price jumped 40%, causing families to shell out hundreds of dollars a month, even with good insurance. And when they can’t make ends meet any other way, they ration their medication, often ending up in the hospital because they could only afford a fraction of the insulin they were supposed to use that month. New legislation could change that by capping the price on insulin.
INSIGHT OF THE DAY: The Federal Reserve is due to begin two days of meetings Tuesday, possibly signaling the arrival of interest-rate hikes in an effort to tamp down inflation. The central bank is likely to announce that it will more rapidly reduce the amount of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities it has been buying to hold down long-term interest rates, economists say. The Fed has kept its key short-term rate near zero since the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a deep recession in March 2020.
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What Are The Solutions
According to the American Diabetes Association , there are more than seven million diabetics in this country, and around 27% say that affording insulin has impacted their daily life.
Dr William Cefalu, the ADA’s chief scientific, medical and mission officer, says a lack of transparency is at the root of the issue.
“The system is dysfunctional. There are issues at each level, at each stakeholder in the insulin supply chain,” he says. “We can’t point the finger at one particular entity.”
Fixing issues with high deductibles and ensuring any discounts negotiated with insurance companies actually filter down to patients is key, he says.
Competition would be the best way to bring prices down, so why hasn’t that happened yet?
Unlike chemical drugs, which can be simply replicated, insulin is a biological material – made up of proteins synthesised through a cell line that’s unique to each formula.
But despite these fundamental differences, insulin has long been classified and regulated like a chemical drug.
In December, the FDA announced that the agency would reclassify insulin as a “biological product” by 2020, in what the FDA commissioner called a “watershed moment for insulin”.
These so-called biologics will then have an easier pathway to approval than before, promoting the development of “products that are biosimilar to, or interchangeable with” existing insulin.
For Ms Marston, it’s hard to see why insulin was ever treated like other medications.
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Businessmillions Rely On Emergency Pandemic Benefits For Rent Food And Medicine Now That Lifeline Has Disappeared
The discount program is in effect while the suit is pending. The drug manufacturers keep showing us who they really are, said state Rep. Mike Howard, one of the sponsors.
In a statement, PhRMA told FairWarning that it supports policy changes that make the system work better for patients, and listed ideas that stop short of reducing the price of insulin.
The American Diabetes Association, a major advocacy group for patients with the disease, has supported copay caps, but did not endorse Alecs law and has faced criticism for not calling out insulin manufacturers by name. Unlike the smaller T1International group, which refuses donations from the drug industry, the diabetes association lists all three insulin manufacturers as leading corporate sponsors on its website and has accepted millions of dollars in contributions from drug companies, according to a database compiled by Kaiser Health News in 2015. A spokesperson told Kaiser Health News in 2018 that the diabetes association prefers to focus on all entities in the supply chain rather than individual drug companies.
The American Diabetes Association has not responded to repeated interview requests from FairWarning.
PhRMA has also sued Nevada over a requirement to justify insulin price hikes.
In 2017, Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, signed a strict drug transparency bill. Focusing on diabetes medication, it required drug manufacturers to explain in writing the reason for any price hike exceeding the inflation rate.