The Insulin Price Crisis
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.
What Can You Do?
Join your local Chapter. Never done advocacy before? Many of our Chapter members were in the same position before starting. Your T1International Chapter will provide the support you need to get going. They can help you with a group of like-minded people fighting for the same things, as well as resources, tips on reaching out to legislators, and more!
Contact your representatives. This means reaching out to your senators, your congressional representative and your state representatives. You can write to them directly, or when calling, ask to speak to a legislative aide or staffer who works on health policy.
Tell them your story. This is often the most important thing to share with your representatives. Do you have a story of a time you or your family had to buy insulin out of pocket or struggled with costs? Do you have fear and anxiety of not being able to afford the costs of your insulin or diabetes supplies day to day? Tell them!