November 14, 2019 News, Press Releases

NEW REPORT: The Truth About Insulin Prices

WASHINGTON, DC — At least five individuals have died in 2019 after rationing insulin. On World Diabetes Day, Patients For Affordable Drugs is releasing a new report underscoring the insulin affordability crisis that forces nearly one in four people with diabetes in the U.S. to ration the essential drug. Today’s report tells the story of how the insulin crisis came to be and what we must do to fix it.

Read the report, “The Truth About Insulin Prices,” here.

The report found:

  • Fixing Prices: Price fixing allegations have dogged Eli Lilly since 1941; today, the insulin market is run by a global cartel of three multinational corporations — Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi — still fraught with unethical behavior, like hiking prices in lock step.
  • Gouging Patients: It costs between $3.69 and $6.16 to produce a vial of analog insulin, but drug makers price these products at nearly $300 a vial, reaping billions in profit at patient and taxpayer expense.
  • Gaming Patents: Anti-competitive patent gaming neutralizes competitors and holds hostage people with diabetes who rely on the drug to live.

“Congress and the White House can and must act to stop the abuses of the insulin cartel that have led to the deaths of five Americans in the last year and are putting millions of other lives at risk,” said Lauren Stanford, a person with type 1 diabetes and the Community Organizing Director for Patients For Affordable Drugs. “The time for talk is over. There is bipartisan legislation that could be enacted this year to lower the price of insulin and all medications.”

The report highlights solutions to lower the price of insulin and includes never before seen analysis on insulin price hikes and profits. For example, according to today’s report, Eli Lilly has raised the price of Humalog through a series of 34 price hikes, capturing more than $35 billion in sales since the drug entered the market in 1996. The drug now carries a list price of $275 — a more than 1200% increase from its launch price of $20.

Nine of 10 Americans from both political parties agree Congress’ top priority should be to lower drug prices, according to a 2019 Harvard-Politico poll.

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Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.