Insulin truly is a miracle drug—extending countless lives and expanding the quality of life for millions of Americans. Yet its skyrocketing price, largely the result of pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) practices, is putting it out of reach of far too many patients, including children.
According to the Endocrine Society (a global research group), “Novolog, a commonly used insulin, has been available since 2001. While this product has been unchanged, its price increased by 353% over a 15-year period between 2001 and 2016 and it continues to rise.”
Diabetes is the costliest chronic disease in the U.S., with an estimated price tag of $327 billion annually. Insulin costs make up about 20% percent of direct medical costs.
In the same way, EpiPens save lives—millions of times each year. These, too, have seek skyrocketing prices in recent years, and were included in the Trump administration’s program that made them more affordable.
Why, then, is the Biden administration ending a Trump administration program that provided discounts on insulin to low-income and uninsured patients? You’ll have to ask them, but one diabetes advocacy group immediately launch an ad campaign calling for “less talk, more action” on insulin pricing.
Texas isn’t waiting, however.
House Bill 18, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday, establishes a prescription drug savings program for 3 million uninsured Texans. We know that medication compliance is a big factor in determining outcomes; the program will give the uninsured access to deeply discounted prescriptions. This includes insulin and EpiPens.
The Biden administration has yet to say what it will do to assist those who can’t afford their medications. Texas, on the other hand, has stepped up with real assistance.