Cost for Insulin Soars, Giving Families Sticker Shock

The price for insulin has gone through the roof since 2004, according to data from Truven Health Analytics. Three companies make insulin in the United States. Lantus (made by Sanofi) is up 400%, Novolog (Novo Nordisk) is up 381%, and Humalog (Eli Lilly) is up 380%, according to NBC News. Families are feeling the burden because since 2014, more employees are enrolled in high-deductible health plans, about a 9 percentage points increase.

The drug companies seem to be having a price war in reverse: Who can charge the most? “Between the 3rd quarters of 2008 and 2016, the drugs saw 16 separate price moves,” NBC reports. Of them, 10 were by the same amount and at the same time. The others differed by a few percentage points, or were delayed by a quarter.”

The drug companies counter that pricing is driven up by middlemen, and that it also helps fund research for other life-saving medications. Novo Nordisk told NBC: “Price increases are necessary to support our mission to research and develop new medicines.”

In many ways, the controversy mirrors the one surrounding the price increases for the EpiPen with one important 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.”

Source: NBC News