Rising insulin costs force 40% of Colorado diabetics to ration its use, AG’s report says
More than 40% of Coloradans with diabetes responding to a survey said their insulin costs are so high that they dangerously ration their own use of the lifesaving drug at least once a year, according to a state attorney general’s report.
Insulin costs for Colorado patients rose 262% in the past 10 years, a massive increase that the new report from Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office attributes to lack of competition among drugmakers and distributors, and their “lockstep” price increases that have drawn lawsuits over alleged collusion.
Results of the insulin inflation have real and severe consequences for Coloradans’ health, Weiser said, expanding on a report required by the Colorado legislature. Rationing insulin or fasting to control blood sugar levels are medically hazardous and an awful consequence for nearly 74,000 state residents who rely on the drug for diabetes control.
The high level of rationing among the nearly 400 residents who gave information for the report “is a painful, jaw-dropping statistic that underscores what the problem is,” Weiser said.
The state AG investigation, ordered as part of a groundbreaking 2019 bill capping copayments for insulin at $100 a month, zeroes in on the lack of real price competition in an insulin market dominated by just three manufacturers and three pharmacy benefit managers who buy and distribute the drug. The benefit managers negotiate price discounts in the form of “rebates” from the manufacturers, but there’s little way of knowing whether those savings are ever passed on to the consumer, Weiser said.
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