By Karen Stokes
As part of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, nearly four million seniors on Medicare with diabetes started to see their insulin costs capped at $35 per month this past January, saving some seniors hundreds of dollars for a month’s supply.
President Biden made clear in his State of the Union address that this life-saving benefit should apply to everyone, not just Medicare beneficiaries.
This week, Eli Lilly, the largest manufacturer of insulin in the United States, is lowering their prices and meeting that call.
Eli Lilly, announced that they are capping what patients pay out of pocket for the drug maker’s insulin products at $35. They are the first major manufacturer to do so.
“Last year, I signed a law to cap insulin at $35 for seniors and I called on pharma companies to bring prices down for everyone on their own. Today, Eli Lilly did that,” Biden said.
“It’s a big deal, and it’s time for other manufacturers to follow.”
“American families have been crushed by drug costs many times higher than what people in other countries are charged for the same prescriptions. Insulin costs less than $10 to make, but Americans are sometimes forced to pay over $300 for it. It’s flat wrong,” President Biden said in a statement.
“In the US we pay 2-3 times as much as people in other countries pay for prescription drugs. One in four Americans that take prescription drugs have trouble affording their medication,” said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “For too long too many people had to choose between their medication and other basic needs.”
The changes could help nearly 2 million people pay for the life-sustaining drug.
“Diabetes disproportionately affects people of color, the majority of people in the Medicare program who have diabetes are Black or Hispanic and people who are African American are 2 times more likely to be hospitalized or die because of diabetes and lack of care,” said Brooks-LaSure.
Diabetes is an epidemic in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 37 million Americans have diabetes. What’s true nationwide is also true in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin has approximately 343,871 Wisconsinites or 7.4 % of the adult population, have diagnosed diabetes, according to the 2020 Census.
According to diabetes.org, every year an estimated 40,667 people in Wisconsin are diagnosed with diabetes.