Obamacare Forces Insulin Rationing; Prices Skyrocket

NBC News – The cost of insulin for treating Type 1 diabetes in the United States nearly doubled over a recent five-year period, underscoring a national outcry over rising drug prices, according to a new analysis.

A patient with Type 1 diabetes incurred annual insulin costs of $5,705, on average, in 2016.

The average cost was roughly half that, at $2,864 per patient, in 2012, according to a report released on Tuesday by the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute.

The figures represent the combined amount paid by a patient and his health plan for the medicine and do not reflect rebates paid at a later date.

The increasing cost of insulin has led some patients to put their own health at risk. World Will Soon Run Out of Insulin – Then What?

In recent months, anecdotal stories have cropped up from family members and patients describing the rationing of the lifesaving medication because they could not afford out-of-pocket expenses for insulin.

That has also led to some protests outside company headquarters of insulin makers.

The institute said the jump in spending was driven primarily by higher insulin prices overall and, to a lesser extent, a shift toward more expensive insulin products.

Average daily insulin use rose only 3 percent over the same five-year period, the report found.

No scientific explanation, experts say 

“It’s not that individuals are using more insulin or that new products are particularly innovative or provide immense benefits,” Jeannie Fuglesten Biniek, a senior institute researcher and the report’s co-author, said in a phone interview …

The insulin report analyzed commercial claims data for about 15,000 patients with Type 1 diabetes annually who had at least one prescription for an insulin product during the year. Toronto MD Cures 3 Men of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes

From 2012 to 2016, the average price of insulin increased from 13 cents per unit to 25 cents per unit, according to the report. For the average patient using 60 units per day, the daily cost went from $7.80 in 2012 to $15 in 2016.

The findings come amid new outrage over the cost of prescription drugs in the United States, the highest in the world. Read more.

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