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Why Does the Cost of Insulin Continue to Rise?

Why Does the Cost of Insulin Continue to Rise
28 Dec 2019

Insulin injections are used to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes and acts as a replacement or supplement for your body’s insulin. Naturally made insulin is made in your pancreas and it allows your body to use glucose for energy. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body cannot make insulin and it causes the body to attack itself. Type 2 diabetes means your body has become resistant to the effects of insulin, meaning your body needs more of it to get the same effects. According to the CDC:

The report finds that as of 2015, 30.3 million Americans – 9.4 percent of the U.S. population –have diabetes.

Insulin is a life-saving medication for Americans with diabetes require to live, and it is getting more and more expensive every year. The price of insulin has almost tripled since 2002. This is causing many Americans to make the hard choice to either pay for their medicine or pay for other life necessities. Some are even rationing their insulin, which is a dangerous place to be that can lead to death.

Why do Prices Continue to Rise?

There are many reasons why insulin prices are so expensive and why they continue to rise:

  1. Only 3 companies control about 80% of the Global Insulin Market – three insulin producers which are Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, and Eli Lilly, control more than 90% of the world insulin supply, including America. This means they essentially hold a monopoly so they can set the prices however they please. Some countries like China and India have domestic insulin companies, which help keep the prices lower. This means we need more companies in the USA to help bring down the prices. These three companies collectively rake in billions of dollars in profit and they are not about to give that up any time soon.
  2. There is no generic insulin – insulin cannot be made as generic as other medications can. Insulin is a therapeutic biological product (biologic) rather than a chemically synthesized molecule. Creating a similar product is a lot more complicated and expensive than it is to replicate a chemical molecule. There is not much motivation in the market to produce a generic option because it would still cost nearly the same amount.
  3. Patents and evergreening – there are many reasons why we aren’t seeing more companies making insulin, but evergreening is a big reason. Evergreening is a strategy in which producers extend their patents over products that are about to expire in order to retain royalties over them. This is done by either taking out new patents or buying out other companies producing or patenting the same drug. Patents give a company a monopoly on a certain invention for a specific period of time. It is normally 20 years in the USA. This evergreening loophole can keep prices high for a long time.

What Can Be Done?

Prescription assistance programs are a very viable option for making insulin more affordable. Trying to find ways to pay for this needed and expensive medication can sometimes feel nearly impossible. Whether it’s because of low income, no insurance, or being uninsured, many Americans find themselves in a place to be unable to afford insulin. Fortunately, for those who need help paying for insulin now have a way to get assistance in order to make it much more affordable for you.

Prescription Assistance 123 offers these services for you. For more information or to get started in your application process, you can contact us at 888-344-8915. Get the help you need today and let’s get started on your prescription assistance as soon as possible. Now is the time to get the assistance you deserve in a hassle manner. Let us be your advocate for you through this process!