Insulin the new Epi Pen? Prices up 400%

Mar 2012
55,301
36,842
New Hampshire
#1
Is insulin is the new EpiPen?

In the last eight years, the average price per milliliter of insulin has skyrocketed by over 200 percent. But there's one major difference. If you can't get an EpiPen, there's a chance you might die. If your body doesn't have insulin, you certainly will die. "It feels like they're holding my kid ransom," said Tiffany Cara, whose son has diabetes.

Only three major companies make insulin in the U.S. and each has steadily ratcheted up prices, sometimes in lockstep. Since 2004, the manufacturer list price for insulin, known as wholesale acquisition cost, is up by triple digits. Novo Nordisk's insulin Novolog is up 381 percent, Eli Lilly's Humalog is up 380 percent and Sanofi's Lantus is up 400 percent, according to data from Truven Health.

"Prices are set by the pharmaceutical companies at whatever the market will bear," Dr. Kesselheim, associate professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, told NBC News. Just like with EpiPen, insulin list prices have been going up behind the scenes for years. Most patients had a relatively small copay so they didn't really see the price hikes except as part of gradually rising premiums. But since Obamacare went into effect in 2014, the number of employees enrolled in high-deductible plans has shot up 9 percentage points, according to a survey by the Kaiser family foundation, as employers have successfully steered their workers towards the plans."

Another major factor: there is currently no generic for insulin.

Is Insulin the New EpiPen? Families Facing Sticker Shock Over 400 Percent Price Hike - NBC News
 
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Rorschach

Former Staff
Aug 2012
53,875
20,201
america
#3
I am thinking that much of this may be due to "Captive" markets, and, how the whole Insurance/Pharmaceuticals work.

If Insulin keeps going up, people will have to go back to that from animals, instead of the synthetic human insulins currently marketed.
 
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Mar 2012
55,301
36,842
New Hampshire
#4
I know he's not a human, but I'm even wrestling with this in relation to my cat. :(
Very often pet meds and human meds are one in the same and pet owners tend to notice these prices far earlier since few have pet insurance. Its normally cash and it hurts a lot of people. My dog has epilepsy and takes human meds. Vet told me more pet owners are forced to choose euthanasia over the cost of drugs.
 
Likes: 1 person
Mar 2012
55,301
36,842
New Hampshire
#5
I am thinking that much of this may be due to "Captive" markets, and, how the whole Insurance/Pharmaceuticals work.

If Insulin keeps going up, people will have to go back to that from animals, instead of the synthetic human insulins currently marketed.
I think too all the various ways to use insulin is changing rapidly. Pumps and computerized systems are now being used and are getting smaller and smaller. Can be really costly.
 
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Rorschach

Former Staff
Aug 2012
53,875
20,201
america
#6
I think too all the various ways to use insulin is changing rapidly. Pumps and computerized systems are now being used and are getting smaller and smaller. Can be really costly.
Well that is the equipment.

Insulin Pumps (and supplies) went up, due to the Obamacare tax (Thus, the reason I am no longer on the pump, although I will be, again, in a year or so...)

The Pens are really nice, but, perhaps, they are now considered "medical devices," thus entailing an extra cost.

There are new, "specialized" insulins, but, they have been around several years.

To be perfectly honest....I really can see no reason that prices are going up for Insulin, OTHER than the fact that....those like myself who need it, pretty much need it to survive.
 
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Rorschach

Former Staff
Aug 2012
53,875
20,201
america
#7
When I was in college, and had NO insurance, a vial of NPH Insulin (Made from animals), and a whole box of Syringes would cost me about $40.00

Today, a vial of NPH Insulin is around $75.00 by itself.

OF course, I no longer use NPH, I use "Novolog" and "Lantus" which are higher quality synthetic human insulin PENS. Those are far more expensive.

Even with inflation, new and improved insulins, etc., I have to think that someone, somewhere is making an incredibly high profit.

Insulin just isn't that expensive to make.
 
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Rorschach

Former Staff
Aug 2012
53,875
20,201
america
#9
We still get down to the "pay or die" philosophy in this country, don't we?
That is pretty much in play anywhere.

Always has been, and, likely always will be to some degree.

We pay for our food, after all. Kinda need that.

But, in some parts of the world, the "fee" to eat is MUCH higher, and, likely involves a lot more than simply a financial payment.....
 
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Apr 2016
476
161
Seattle
#10
My 94 old mother cuts back on her insulin because of the cost. It has affected her health greatly. She always hits the donut hole and then she cannot afford her insulin. There needs to be more competition. Its a crime that they know people have to have this drug so they inflate the price of it.
 
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