Pharmaceutical Companies to Blame for Out-of-Control Prices for Life-Saving Drug


During tonight’s State of the Union address, President Trump is expected to address the mounting crisis of affordability caused by the out-of-control price of prescription drugs. One drug in particular has been at the forefront of this crisis for millions of Americans diagnosed with diabetes: insulin.

Over the past decade, Big Pharma has continued to hike the price of insulin at rates far out-pacing inflation, despite little or no improvement to the life-saving drug. This practice has forced too many Americans to turn to drastic measures like traveling to Canada to purchase their medication or rationing their insulin supply, often with devastating or deadly consequences.

When insulin was first created, the inventors sold the patent for only one dollar. But between 1996 and 2006, the price of insulin increased by 700 percent. And in 2016, the average price per month reached $450, leaving one-in-four American diabetic patients struggling to afford this life or death medication.

Meanwhile, the three largest manufacturers of insulin – Novo Nordisk, Sanofi and Eli Lilly – continue to engage in a number of egregious pricing practices to keep prices at the expense of American patients. These brand name drug companies control 99 percent of the marketplace and face no true generic competitor to drive down prices, allowing them to continue raising prices with little fear of competition.

Despite Eli Lilly’s attempt to score some positive public relations points this past year by announcing a generic version of their top-selling insulin Humalog, reports reveal that “the cheaper option has not made much of a difference across the United States,” and did little to introduce real competition into the market to lower prices.

And as brand name drug companies try to point fingers at everyone else in the drug pricing supply chain in an effort to distract from their price-gouging and anticompetitive tactics, it’s important to remember Big Pharma is responsible for setting and deciding to hike list prices.

Now is the time for Congress and President Trump to deliver on their promise to lower prescription drug prices for Americans by advancing market-based solutions to hold Big Pharma accountable.

See CSRxP’s infographic detailing solutions with significant bipartisan consensus in Congress HERE.

Read more on bipartisan, market-based solutions to hold Big Pharma accountable HERE.


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