Thursday, 18 April 2019

Vitals – January 23, 2019 – Axios

The average patient with Type 1 diabetes is paying twice as much for insulin, before subtracting rebates and discounts, as they were just a few years ago, according to a report from the Health Care Cost Institute.

By the numbers: The average patient with Type 1 diabetes spent $5,705 insulin in 2016, according to HCCI.

  • That represents 31% of that patient’s total gross health care spending for the year.
  • In 2012, insulin costs represented a relatively lower 23% of the average diabetic’s health care spending.

There is a major caveat.

  • The HCCI report does not factor in rebates or discounts, meaning diabetics paid less than those headline figures, my colleague Bob Herman reports this morning. But HCCI modeled an assumption of rebates and still found insulin prices were the leading reason for higher spending.
  • Insulin makers say net prices have barely budged over the past several years because most of the price increases go toward health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers in the form of rebates.

The bottom line: Nothing here is about to change. Two of the three major insulin makers, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, have raised prices on their products for this year. (The third, Eli Lilly, has yet to make a public announcement.)

What they’re saying: Sanofi and Novo Nordisk both issued statements that blamed rebates, high deductibles and other insurance designs as the reasons for higher spending, and they said most of their patients can get insulin for less than $50 per month.


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