Insulin prices scrutinized

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U.S. Senators and the American Diabetes Association called for greater transparency on insulin pricing, as well as other measures to help individuals with diabetes.

A new American Diabetes Association white paper addressing the high price of insulin was released in early May to coincide with a hearing on the topic, held by the U.S Senate Special Committee on Aging.

The paper, “Insulin Access and Affordability Working Group: Conclusions and Recommendations,” was published May 8 online in Diabetes Care.

It recommends ways that healthcare providers can help minimize patients' out-of-pocket costs.

“The average list price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years, nearly tripling between 2002 and 2013,” the working group reported.

“The reasons for this increase are not entirely clear but are due in part to the complexity of drug pricing in general and of insulin pricing in particular.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) called rate hikes, even for the drug's oldest versions, “untenable” at the hearing.

“It's become a barrier to treatment for so many Americans,” she noted.

The ADA warned providers to be mindful that rising prices may make community-dwelling diabetics less likely to follow their treatment plans.