Congresswoman Beatty Looks to Lower Insulin Price
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) introduced the End Price Gouging for Insulin Act, H.R. 5364. If enacted, the bill will reduce the financial burden for the 7.4 million Americans who use insulin to manage their diabetes. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Ohio and Ohio has the eighth highest diabetes mortality rate.
“Today, over 1 in 10 Ohioans are living with diabetes, many using insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels,” Beatty said. “However, with the dramatic increase in cost of insulin—almost tripling in price—in just the last 10 years, countless people are forced to choose between rationing or other extremes. This is unconscionable.” She continued, “My bill would correct this travesty by setting a more economically feasible price based on the prevailing cost of insulin internationally.”
Despite being invented over a century ago, the price of common insulin products has nearly tripled over the last decade. As a result, over a quarter of Americans with Type 1 diabetes have rationed their insulin in the last year, a rate four times higher than that of other economically developed countries according to data from the American Diabetes Association and T1 International.
Specifically, the End Price Gouging for Insulin Act will require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to set a reference price for insulin products based on the average cost of insulin across 11 developed countries. Drug companies that sell insulin above the reference price would owe a civil penalty to be paid into the Medicare Trust Fund and the National Institutes for Health for drug research and development.
Nearly 1.2 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, another 30 million are living with Type 2, and still 84 more million are considered pre-diabetic. Moreover, communities of color are disproportionately affected, as Black, Hispanic, and American Indiana/Alaska Native populations are more likely to be living with diabetes than White and Asian Americans and have poorer health outcomes like loss of vision, amputation, and kidney failure.
H.R. 5364 is awaiting further consideration in several House committees, and companion legislation (S. 2817) has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Jeff Merkley (OR) and Dick Durbin (IL).
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