Vox: Insulin Drug Prices Tell Us a Lot About What’s Wrong with Drug Pricing in America

Julia Belluz, in this Vox article, recalls a very different pricing strategy for prescription drugs – Doctors who refused to patent the discovery of insulin in 1923 and sold the patent to the University of Toronto for $1 because they wanted everyone who needed their medication to be able to afford it.

On May 2, Eli Lilly raised the price of its insulin medications by 7.8 percent, according to CNBC’s Meg Tirrell. Eli Lilly is not alone, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk have also increased their insulin prices. The cost of the drug is now upwards of $400 per month.

As she writes in Vox:

The US drug pricing scheme is set up in a way that makes it relatively easy for companies to charge what they want…  America has long taken a free market approach to pharmaceuticals.

The pushback from #BigPharma is that they need these price increases to fuel innovation to improve the drug. However, when that argument is explored in great depth it falls flat. The improvements to these drugs have largely been incremental yet the related price hikes have been exorbitant.

It is important to note that adherence is a safety issue. If patients do not take the medications that they need, at the prescribed dosage and time, then the health effects could be detrimental and even fatal. The health outcomes that they experience may result in far greater costs to the healthcare system.

Yet this is not the concern of #BigPharma as we are all aware of their motives. It’s time to put patients before profits.

The full article can be accessed here.