In the U.S, drug spending rose by 20% from 2013 to 2015. Last year we saw shocking examples of price hikes, most notably with the outrageous price of an EpiPen.
Millions of diabetics, members of the Diabetes Association, and Congress members are now requesting investigation hearings to explain why the price of insulin is still continuing to rise.
Many people with diabetes feel that as customers, they have no choice. They need the medication to survive. And although insurance will cover a percentage of the costs, they are still affected by the price increase.
Even Medicare patients are paying hundreds to thousands of dollars out of pocket monthly to obtain the medication they need to survive.
An Endocrinologist of 35 years, Dr. Leonard Zemel, says the increase is due to pharmaceutical companies trying to get rich off of disease. Zemel says there are plenty of people at fault for the continuous price rise, from those making the medication to those supplying it to patients.
According to pharmaceutical companies, they base prices on production and research costs. Pharmacy managers negotiate with insurance companies on prices. Then insurance companies choose what price they will charge customers.
A website comparing insurance plans known as Healthpocket says that in 2016, costs of medication increased by 34%. The prices of two well-known kinds of insulin, Lantus and Humalog, have more that doubled in that last five years.
Diana DeGette, Denver Congresswoman, says we need to raise awareness on what goes into producing the medications and the process they go through before hitting the market.
DeGette along with many other Democrats want some answers.
The American Diabetes Association started a petition demanding that affordable insulin becomes accessible. So far they have over 190,000 signatures. However, changes won’t come fast enough for those depending on insulin.
The top three drugmakers deny a federal lawsuit accusing them of collusion.
President Trump is promising to fight back against the pharmaceutical companies. He says he will press the government to begin negotiating the costs for Medicare and Medicaid. However, he stepped back from that stance after meeting with the drug companies.