Feb 4, 2019
Type 1 diabetes patients spent almost twice as much on insulin in 2016 as they did four years prior. They spent $5,705 on average in 2016 compared to $2,864 in 2012, according to a study by Health Care Cost Institute.
These kind of price increases result from the control of insulin production by only a handful of pharmaceutical companies. Three companies control around 90% of the insulin production around the world: U.S.-based Eli Lilly, France-based Sanofi, and Denmark-based Novo Nordisk.
Diabetes patients need insulin to live. While insurance may cover some of the cost of insulin for some, some patients nevertheless have a difficult time affording their medication due to the drastic price increases. Some low-income patients try to stretch their insulin supplies by cutting their doses, which doesn’t work. Some patients have died as a result.
The problem is only likely to increase. Insulin use is expected to rise 20 percent worldwide by 2030, according to a study by Stanford University. The study predicted 79 million people will need insulin by that time, but less than half will have access to it.
We live in a society that puts profits over human lives. People have begun protests against the huge price increases by these pharmaceutical giants, out of necessity. Ultimately, only the elimination of profits from the healthcare system can put an end to such practices.