LifestyleHealth and Fitness


Patients, doctors urge lawmakers to cap costs on diabetes meds, care

Posted at 11:41 AM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 18:49:30-05

CLEVELAND — Prescription costs are constantly on the minds of so many Americans. And right now about 150 drugmakers are increasing costs by more than 6.5% impacting nearly 900 products.

Some of those products include insulin used to help treat diabetes.

Marcus LaCour, from Cincinnati, was diagnosed with diabetes in November of 2000. He's one of about 37 million Americans who have diabetes. He relies on insulin to manage the chronic disease.

LaCour said in 2006 he noticed insulin prices increasing.

"It went from being $30 a vial for each to $50 a piece for each bottle. So you go from spending $60 to $100," he recalled.

According to AARP, from 2006 to 2020, prices for 65 brand name drugs increased by around 276%.

"Even being in that position where you're trying to make 10 units of insulin stretch until you can find another vial or try to make whatever you have last until something shakes. It's difficult," LaCour said.

A recent survey from the Urban Institute found 13 million Americans skipped or delayed prescribed medicine in 2019 due to their costs. A move University Hospital's endocrinologist Dr. Laleh Razavi has seen firsthand.

"I would urge everybody to not change their insulin. Don't miss the dosage. There is always some options for help," she said.

A new high record of more than 100,000 Americans died from diabetes last year, according to CDC data collected by Reuters.

LaCour and Razavi are just some of many patients and doctors across the country urging Congress to overhaul diabetes care and prevention.

"Let's put a face to some of the pain that some people may be experiencing," LaCour said "Let's be able to let's have that conversation and try to figure out what can be done. At the end of the day, it's got to get better, and my hope is I'm able to push that voice out there to help, hopefully help make things better."

"We recommend that more manufacturers take the responsibility to produce a biosimilar insulin rather than just the few manufacturers that are doing it right now. This will help us with the pricing as well," Razavi said.

Right now a plan for Congress to cap insulin costs at $35 per month is still being negotiated as part of President Biden Administration's proposed Build Back Better legislation.

RELATED: As insulin prices soar, some patients ration their doses: ‘You try to make do’