In the last decade, the price of insulin, a hormone that helps keep the blood sugar levels of diabetic people stable, rose 200 percent between 2002 and 2013.
Insulin is one of the most important treatments for diabetes and, in only 10 years, its price is higher than the price of all the other treatments for diabetes combined, which was $502 a year, per patient. According to a new study, the price of insulin has been tripled, rising from $231 a year per person, to $736. Plus, the average amount of insulin used rose from 171 milliliters to 206 milliliters.
Philip Clarke, a professor of health economics at the University of Melbourne in Australia, says that the main reasons why the cost of insulin has risen is because people are going from using regular insulin to analogs of it, that can provide other benefits. Such medications include metformin, sulfonylureas, glitazones, DPP-4 inhibitors, amylin analogs and GLP-1 receptors agonists. Also, because doctors are prescribing insulin more often, especially for people with type 2 diabetes.
“The dramatic increase in the cost of insulin in the United States may deny some people access to a life savings therapy. The price increases have had the greatest impact on individual patients without pharmacy benefits who pay out-of-pocket for their insulin, not on pharmacy benefit managers for large insurance companies who receive discounts,” Dr. William H. Herman, study author of the University of Michigan said.
The price of insulin does not seem to go down, and the reasons might be because of the regulations of bringing similar products to the market, and also the cost involved.
To obtain this information, the new study was based on a research data from 2002 to 2013 in the U.S., involving medical spending from 27,878 people with diabetes, whose average age was around 60 years old.