Kuster Expresses Alarm Over Rising Cost of Insulin and the Impact on Diabetes Patients
**Kuster’s Q&A can be watched HERE**
(Washington, DC) –Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, questioned public health experts about the rising cost of insulin and the impact it is having on patients with diabetes yesterday. Approximately 1 in 10 people in New Hampshire has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and the estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in the state is $1.3 billion per year. Over the last two decades the prices for the most commonly prescribed insulins have increased from about $20 per vial to over $250 per vial—a more than 700 percent increase after adjusting for inflation. This price increase has made insulin unaffordable for even some high-income individuals.
“It’s unconscionable that the price of insulin has put this critical medication out of reach for many Granite Staters and people across the country,” said Kuster. “Diabetes is a serious illness, and no one who is struggling with it should have to worry about having access to the medicine they need to live. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I’m committed to working with my colleagues to lower the out of control costs of insulin and other medications.”
A 2018 Yale University survey of patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who use insulin found that one in four patients were rationing their insulin due to cost. When people with diabetes go without insulin or ration their doses, there can be dire health consequences, including death. In addition, these patients may also neglect other needs such as transportation, utilities, housing, doctor’s visits or other medications in order to afford insulin.
Kuster has been vocal about the need to reduce the costs of prescription drugs and has called for the direct negotiation of Medicare Part D with pharmaceutical companies to reduce prices.
The panelists today were Kasia J. Lipska, M.D., Clinical Investigator at the Yale-New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at the Yale University School of Medicine; William T. Cefalu, M.D., Chief Scientific, Medical and Mission Officer at American Diabetes Association; and Alvin C. Powers, M.D., Director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center.