The Rising Cost of Insulin in the U.S.: A Looming Crisis?

The Rising Cost of Insulin in the U.S.: A Looming Crisis?

by Olivia Pryor (SU)

Insulin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the body in order to metabolize carbohydrates and to regulate blood sugar levels. People with type 1 diabetes, whose pancreas produces little to no insulin, are insulin-dependent – needing shots of insulin to replenish what their body is not manufacturing. Similarly, those who have type 2 diabetes may also need to have insulin shots to regulate their glucose levels.

The men who discovered insulin in 1923 sold the intellectual property rights for just 3 Canadian dollars. Today, the average price of insulin in the United States is $98.70, with some rates going as high as $250 per vial.

Diabetes is big business for pharmaceutical manufacturers. Even as far back as 1941, several companies were indicted on antitrust and price-fixing charges when they were caught inflating the prices of insulin.

Expensive Insulin – Who Is to Blame?

For those of us who have diabetes, these rising costs are becoming more and more painful in the wallet. Diabetics in the United States pay at least eight times the cost of insulin as compared to those who live in other high-income nations.

The insulin market is broken, from the insulin manufacturers and their lobbyists to the wholesalers and retailers to governmental and nongovernmental regulatory bodies. Insulin prices will continue to rise with no real policy-level solutions.

What then can be done to help patients with diabetes afford the cost of insulin?

What Physicians Can Do

Some physicians are proactive in helping their patients to better manage their disease. The local doctors may not be able to singlehandedly change the system, but they can provide low-cost options such as human insulin – which is doable and effective.

Moreover, drug manufacturers offer affordable treatment options to certain healthcare facilities through the 340B program, of which more than 12,000 facilities are participating. As a patient, ask your doctor whether you have access to this or to something similar.

Primary Care Doctor in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach, Florida

The skilled and experienced healthcare team here at Advanced Medical Clinic specializes in diagnosing and treating patients with endocrine disorders, including diabetes. Dr. Ishan Gunawardene, our internal medicine doctor, aims to help his diabetes patients find insulin that they can afford to control their disease.

His wife, Shariffa Gunawardene, is a board-certified nurse practitioner who can treat patients of all ages. Together, they can serve the medical needs of your whole family. We are highly flexible and take a personalized approach for your family’s optimal health.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (561) 434-1935 or by filling out our easy-to-use appointment request form online now. We have convenient locations in Wellington (off SR7/441, north of Lake Worth Road) and in Royal Palm Beach (near the intersection of Okeechobee Boulevard and Royal Palm Beach Boulevard), and we look forward to being your family’s healthcare partner!