By Sarah Gleich
Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019
I have had diabetes since I was 5 years old. Like millions of people with diabetes, I rely on insulin 24 hours a day to survive.
People like us are fighting for our lives due to the skyrocketing price of insulin. Year after year, the price goes up, leaving our population cash-strapped and forcing hard choices. When I hear stories of people who have to choose between paying their rent or paying for their medication, it sickens me.
Insulin has been around for nearly a century. With advancements in research and development, the price of insulin should be going down. Instead, pharmaceutical companies keep raising the price simply to pad their bottom lines. Between 1996 and 2006, the price of insulin increased by 700 percent. In 1996, the price of a 10-milliliter vial of fast-acting insulin cost $21, but the same vial today costs $275, making it unaffordable for many families.
The situation has become so dire that today, a quarter of patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes have made the dangerous and heart-wrenching decision to ration their insulin. In too many cases, the consequences are fatal.
There is no excuse for this. Drug companies are price gouging vulnerable patients, and it’s time for concrete action to hold them to account and bring prices down. Next week, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and her colleagues on the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance will get an excellent opportunity when seven executives from some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world testify before them on rising drug prices.
Members of the committee can’t squander this opportunity to cut through the rhetoric and force Big Pharma executives to answer tough questions and address their anti-competitive, price-gouging tactics.