Tennessee state Rep. Jason Hodges wanted to do something about the soaring cost of insulin. He learned that in the United States, the average list price for insulin tripled from 2002 to 2013 and then doubled from 2012 to 2016, forcing some diabetics to spend as much as $1,200 a month. So he wrote a bill to forbid any pharmacy in Tennessee from charging more than $100 for a 30-day insulin supply, thinking that would force drug companies to lower their prices.
Insulin, which was invented 100 years ago and costs less than $10 a vial Insulin, which was invented 100 years ago and costs less than $10 a vial to produce, according to one study, has become a symbol of the federal government’s failure to control the cost of prescription drugs. As diabetes became an epidemic in the United States, researchers found that manufacturers Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk drastically increased the list price of their medications; Eli Lilly’s popular Humalog injections are now listed at $275 a vial for American consumers. In Canada, that same vial goes for $32.
Hope Charters said she traveled to Canada to buy Eli Lilly’s Humalog for $30. Sa’Ra Skipper said that her sister nearly went into a diabetic coma when they tried to share a vial to cut costs. Another woman testified that after the cost of insulin forced her to go on public assistance, she and her children were evicted by a landlord who wouldn’t accept government checks. By the end of the hearing, people in the room were crying.States Are Trying to Cap the Price of Insulin. Big Drug Companies Are Pushing Back – FairWarning