When looking at the history of insulin, it feels impossible to imagine that the cost of the medication would be such a problem today. Following the Inflation Reduction Act and reaction from private companies, some progress has been made in making insulin affordable to Americans, but considering how the discovery of insulin unfolded it is outrageous where we ended up in America.
Today, President Trump announced four executive orders with the stated intent of substantially lowering drug prices. Briefly, the administration’s bluster on drug prices over the past three years has been far louder than any actions taken to actually do something about it. Better late than never.
The orders call for and include: 1) Lower prices on EpiPens and insulin, 2) Allowing personal drug importation, 3) Ending profit-taking by pharmacy benefit manager middlemen, and 4) “most favored nation” drug price negotiation in Medicare, meaning Medicare would get the lowest price on drugs of any country.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 29.1 million people, or 9.3% of the U.S. population, have diabetes. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to unnecessary hospitalizations and death. While Diabetes ranks as the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., many people with diabetes actually die from complications related to diabetes rather than the disease itself. In 2011, 85.3% of adults with diagnosed diabetes reported taking pills or insulin for their diabetes. But, the increasing cost of diabetes medications in the U.S. often leads patients to forgo or ration life-saving treatments.