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ICYMI: Guthrie Leads Hearing on Rising Insulin Prices

Washington, April 3, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02), top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, yesterday helped lead a hearing on the rising costs of insulin.

Yesterday’s hearing was the first in a series that the subcommittee plans to hold on why insulin prices continue to skyrocket. Though the net price of insulin has remained stable or slightly decreased, the average list price of insulin has increased substantially, almost tripling between 2002 and 2013. A wide range of individuals testified at the investigative hearing including a patient and a physician, as well as the American Diabetes Association, the Endocrine Society, the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 

“In 2016, almost 6.7 million Americans aged 18 and older used insulin,” said Guthrie in his opening statement. “However, the list price of insulin has increased substantially over the past decade, putting this life-saving drug out of reach for too many Americans. While no one is supposed to pay the list price for insulin, some patients end up paying the list price, or close to it—especially if they are uninsured or underinsured.  An uninsured patient that purchases insulin at the pharmacy is likely to pay the list price of the medicine unless they have access to a patient assistance program.  Further, even if a patient has insurance, increasing list prices oftentimes directly harms patients by increasing their out-of-pocket costs.”

Guthrie said he hopes to use the subcommittee’s investigation on insulin pricing to be used as a model for other drugs that are rising in cost without proper explanation.

“The prescription drug supply chain is complex and it lacks transparency,” said Guthrie. “This lack of transparency makes it hard to determine who benefits from increases in list prices.  But we know who loses—the patient.”