‘Everyone is at fault’: With insulin prices skyrocketing, there’s plenty of blame to go around

It's easy to cast blame on drug makers for skyrocketing insulin prices, but a thorough review of the drug's nearly 100-year history reveals a much more complicated story.

WASHINGTON — Fifteen years ago, a patient with diabetes might have paid $175.57 for a 20-milliliter vial of the long-acting insulin Humulin R U-500.

Today, he’d shell out $1,487 for the same tiny vial, according to wholesale acquisition cost data from Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database.

It’s easy to cast blame on the drug makers: Just three pharmaceutical companies, all of them massive, global enterprises, control the vast majority of the $27 billion global insulin market: Sanofi, Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk. And they always have, virtually since the drug was discovered back in 1921.

But a thorough review of the drug’s nearly 100-year history reveals a much more complicated story: one that makes it clear that the drug makers, their generic counterparts, doctors, and, increasingly, the Food and Drug Administration itself all share blame for the broken insulin market. And while there are a slew of ideas being floated for solving this problem — everything from seizing drug patents to capping how much people with diabetes can pay out of pocket for insulin — multiple policy experts told STAT that creating generic competition is likely the key to bringing costs down for the more than 7.5 million Americans who rely on the drug.

As Congress gears up to investigate to bring the big three companies before her Energy and Commerce subcommittee — it’s worth questioning whether there isn’t reason to call others, like generic manufacturers or FDA Commissioner — to testify, too.

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da STAT

STAT4 min letti
Opinion: If It Comes To Rationing, I Shouldn’t Have To Be The One Deciding Who Should Live And Who Should Die
Medical school didn't teach me how to decide which of my patients should live and which should die if it becomes necessary to ration medical equipment or treatment. But I've…
STAT3 min lettiSociety
White House Expected To Recommend Americans Wear Cloth Masks To Prevent Coronavirus Spread
The White House is expected to announce a new policy, based on guidance from the CDC, that would urge Americans to wear cloth masks in an effort to prevent coronavirus…
STAT3 min lettiSociety
CDC Launches Studies To Get More Precise Count Of Undetected Covid-19 Cases
The CDC has begun preliminary studies to try to flesh out the portion of #Covid19 cases that have evaded detection.