Newswise — WASHINGTON—The Endocrine Society applauds President Biden’s call to rein in soaring insulin prices for those with private insurance and urges Congress to take immediate action.
Biden plans to highlight the need for insulin affordability during tonight’s State of the Union address. He will call on Congress to extend insulin price caps—“commonsense, life-saving protection”—to all Americans, according to an administration statement.
While Congress passed a provision to make insulin more affordable in the Inflation Reduction Act, the monthly $35 insulin price cap in the law applies only to people with Medicare. An attempt to extend the benefit to millions more with private insurance failed in August in the Senate by a mere three votes.
Limiting out-of-pocket insulin costs to $35 a month would be life-changing, particularly for the more than 1.8 million American children and adults with type 1 diabetes. Their bodies cannot produce the insulin needed to break down sugar and provide energy, so they depend on the medication to survive.
In 2021 alone, nearly one in five American adults with diabetes—about 1.3 million people—rationed their insulin to save money, according to a study. Rationing insulin causes people with diabetes to become sicker and, in some cases, even die.
“The Endocrine Society has championed measures to improve insulin access for years,” said Society President Ursula B. Kaiser, M.D. “As physicians and researchers, it is heartbreaking to see our patients struggle to afford the medication that keeps them alive.”
More than 7 million people nationwide rely on insulin to manage their diabetes. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 37.3 million people nationwide—about 11 percent of Americans—have diabetes.
While insulin was discovered more than 100 years ago, the price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, and the trend upward has continued over the past decade. This has created an unnecessary crisis in health care with many people with diabetes being forced to choose between insulin and other necessities.
The Society will continue to work with policymakers to ensure all people with diabetes who rely on insulin can benefit from lower out-of-pocket costs.
“Insulin affordability is a bipartisan issue,” Kaiser said. “Our patients cannot wait any longer for help.”
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Endocrinologists are at the core of solving the most pressing health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers. The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions.
The Society has more than 18,000 members, including scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in 122 countries. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at @TheEndoSociety and @EndoMedia.