Federal Working Group
1) Win a federal price cap on insulin: Three companies, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi, dominate more than 90% of the insulin market. This means that while production of insulin costs around $6 to manufacture, these three companies are charging around $300 for a single vial of insulin (most people need 2-4 vials per month). When a person is dependent on a drug to live, Big Pharma can increase their prices to whatever the market will bear. Capping the price of insulin at the pharmacy counter for anyone who needs it, regardless of insurance, will save lives as we work on more structural changes to lower the cost of insurance.
2) Stop Big Pharma tax breaks: Big Pharma gets tax breaks when they donate huge sums of funds to patient advocacy organizations, influencing these organizations' advocacy. They also get tax breaks when they give coupons for lowered product costs to those who cannot afford it through patient assistance programs, and even for TV ads. We want to expose the benefits that Big Pharma gets from their ‘benevolent’ patient assistance programs to show that it’s actually a win-win for them. We also want to put an end to incentives for executive bonuses and shareholder payouts. Big Pharma has no incentive to open their books and show us just how much money they are making from insulin (or other drugs). At the very least, we want them to pay their fair share of taxes.
3) Patent reform: In 1923, the discoverers of insulin sold the patent for $1, saying “insulin does not belong to me, it belongs to the world”. Rather than the gift it was intended to be, their discovery has become the poster child for pharmaceutical price gouging. Over the last 100 years, while insulin has improved, even many of the newest insulins are decades old. Still, pharma has created ‘thickets’ of patents around them, allowing them to maintain a monopoly. This patent thicketing, along with pay-for-delay patent dispute settlement agreements, and more has hindered true competition and thus the lowering of drug prices.