The Weekly Roundup: Insulin May Be the Canary in the Coal Mine (4.19.19)

April 19, 2019 | Pamela Youngberg

A subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee heard testimony earlier this month on the human toll of rising insulin costs as a case study to better understand the impact on patients on prescription pricing overall. According to Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY 2nd District), “The prescription drug supply chain is complex, and it lacks transparency. There is limited public information around drug prices due to a lack of transparency around rebates and other price concessions.” The Kaiser Family Foundation recently reported that total Medicare Part D spending on insulin increased by 840% between 2007 and 2017, with no generics available and Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi dominating the market. In Minnesota, Attorney General Lori Swanson sued the three. While common wisdom (and massive advertising dollars spent by the Big Pharma lobby) justify high prices as attributable to the cost of R&D, rising insulin costs—which have been averaging 10 percent annually—may go a long way toward putting that argument to bed.

Despite recent announcements that manufacturers would cut the cost of insulin, industry watchers are skeptical it will make a difference. Meanwhile, the world is watching, and pharmacists and physicians on the front line have to deal with patient non-adherenceor worse—or come up with ingenious end-runs, like this Oregon pharmacy did, to help keep their patients healthy.

Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:

[Editor’s note:] Our inboxes are stuffed with newsletters and our coffee tables stacked with magazines and industry digests. I’m sure yours are, too. So, we’ve decided to run a weekly sampling of interesting stories, issues coverage, and business ideas we come across each week. We hope you’ll share some of your favorites, too. Drop us a line at solutions@smart-fill.com.

Pamela Youngberg

Before she came to Smart-Fill, Pamela developed marketing strategy and content for a range of technology start-ups and large-cap enterprises. Outside the office, she's into cycling, renaissance history, cooking, and exploring the outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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