Insulin prices doubled between 2012 and 2016

The historical excuse for pharma monopolists who conspired to rig prices on insulin was that hardly anyone paid full price — everyone got their life-saving, non-optional medicine through health plans that negotiated a knock-down price.

That was the line between 2012 and 2016, as median per-patient insulin costs rose 99%, to $5,705/year.

But now prices are even higher — and more and more people are paying full cost, as the monopolized health insurance sector has reduced benefits to insured people. The average insured person with diabetes is paying 60% more than they were in 2012 (and the rest of the increase is being borne by Medicare and employers).

People with diabetes are increasingly rationing their insulin, a practice that can be lethal.

Today, there are three insulin manufacturers: Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. The manufacturers make the drug, set the price and negotiate with pharmacy benefit managers, the companies hired by health insurers to manage prescription-drug benefits for beneficiaries.

"It comes down to pure greed," Patterson said. "They are lining their pockets. They are making a profit."

When questioned about their costs, the insulin manufacturers told The Dispatch that the majority of patients don't pay the list price for the drug.

'It comes down to pure greed': Insulin prices double, causing many people with diabetes to turn to extremes [Megan Henry/The Columbus Dispatch]

(via Naked Capitalism)

Melissa Johnson
, CC BY, modified