The Insulin Price Crisis in the U.S.A.

Insulin is as necessary to a person with diabetes as oxygen is to any human being, and there are over 7 million Americans that rely on injected insulin to stay alive and healthy.

  • Insulin was first used to treat a person with diabetes in 1922. The discoverers sold the patent for $1 each so it could be accessible for all.
  • Today, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi – the ‘big three’ insulin producers – dominate more than 90% of the world insulin market by value.
  • Since the 1990s, the cost of insulin has increased over 1,200%.
  • List prices of insulin have been rising at the same rate at the same time for at least the past 10 years. One study found that list prices of insulins increased by 262%, with net prices increasing by 51%.
  • Between 2001 and 2015 the price of Humalog insulin increased 585%.
  • The cost of production for a vial of most analog insulins is between $3.69 and $6.16.
  • Spending by patients with type 1 diabetes on insulin nearly doubled from 2012 to 2016, increasing from $2900 to $5700.
  • List price matters because 8.8% of Americans are uninsured and 47.0% have high deductible plans.
  • Average total Medicare Part D spending on insulin products increased by 358% between 2007 and 2016, from $862 to $3,949.
  • One of every four patients with type 1 diabetes has had to ration their insulin due to cost. Many have died.

This crisis is forcing patients to resort to drastic measures to stay alive. The unbearable cost means that countless people have to choose between buying their essential insulin and paying their rent, buying food, or other unthinkable sacrifices

T1International and patient advocates have been working on insulin access and affordability issues since 2013. We will keep raising our voices to ensure we are heard! If the millions of Americans that are insulin dependent speak up, insulin manufacturers and government representatives will take action to ensure insulin is affordable and accessible for all.

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