Commentary: US Government must tame rampant insulin greed

Cost of insulin

A New York City doctor is calling on Congress and the Food and Drug Administration to “tame the Wild West of drug pricing” when it comes to insulin for patients with diabetes.

Writing in The New York Times, Dr. Danielle Ofri describes the frustrating and dangerous experience that is a “colossal waste of time” for the patients and doctors who must scramble to keep on top of changing insulin providers and prices.

She accuses drug manufacturers and insurance companies of “insulin greed” because they collude to jack up prices and constantly change categories of coverage, “farming out their dirty work to doctors and patients” who deal with the confusing and enraging aftermath.

New York Times: The Insulin Wars — How insurance companies farm out their dirty work to doctors and patients

Dr. Ofri says the government needs to step in to regulate prices and protect patient health. She wrote:

When there’s an E. coli outbreak that causes illnesses and death, we rightly expect our regulatory bodies to step in. The outbreak of insulin greed is no different.

Between 2002 and 2013, prices tripled for some insulins. Many brands now cost about $300 a vial, and most patients use two to three – and sometimes four – vials each month.

We have covered aspects of the soaring cost of insulin in news stories before (here and here). Recently we reported a new study that found patients with diabetes, particularly young people, were dangerously rationing their insulin in order to afford the drug.

Diet Doctor: Struggling to afford insulin


Anne Mullens

Additional reading

Reuters: U.S. insulin costs per patient nearly doubled from 2012 to 2016: study

Earlier

2-year results of the Virta Health keto study: patients thriving

Insulin – once a life saver, now a killer?

A day in the life of a low-carb doctor — part 2

Diabetes

One comment

  1. Kenrick
    Not just diabeties meds- here in France the cost of all medical supplies is outrageous as it’s also an insurance based system ...although the French Govenment will refund between 75 -100% of that cost ...the point being the Big pharma often double and often triple their charges knowing the cost will be levied against either personal top up insurance or government reimbursement - sometimes this still requires extra payment though from end user. It’s complicated, but rest assured the Big Pharma and local Pharmacies rake in the money...it’s certainly run for their fiscal benefit and profiteering ...

    But on saying that, it you need an expensive treatment ...for example I have had sepsis 3 times - I required super expensive rare antibiotics - I was given them...no quibble about the cost ...they even flew some specialist antibiotics from one end of France to the other for me ...it’s the same for cancer treatment too...there is no we can’t afford to give you that treatment Mr Jones it’s too expensive as often happens in UK for example.

    The French system is not perfect but fortunately no where near as bad as US system ...you will get treatment here even if you are poor no matter the cost as the safety net here works very well on the whole. But although UK treatment is free at point of entry - if you need some specialist treatment this can often be denied due to cost.

    Ric

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