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Guthrie Leads Second Hearing on Skyrocketing Insulin Costs

Washington, April 10, 2019

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

“The average list price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, making this vital drug unaffordable for too many Americans,” said Guthrie in his opening statement. “Many argue that while list prices have been increasing, net prices have stayed relatively the same or have even gone down.  This sounds great because in theory no one is supposed to pay the list price for insulin.   However, if a patient is uninsured or underinsured they may end up paying the list price, or close to it.  We’ve also heard that more Americans are paying the list price at the pharmacy counter for part of the year because enrollment in high deductible health plans has increased. We have struggled to fully understand why list prices for medicines such as insulin have continued to rise.  The prescription drug supply chain is complex and lacks transparency.” 

Today’s hearing focused on the cost of insulin that consumers pay at the pharmacy counter. Drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers testified on why there is such a large difference between the list price, the net price, and the price paid by the consumer.

“We see the net price rising, and we want to see why it’s doing that. Maybe there’s a market reason for that, and it’s benefiting consumers, but we want to know why,” said Guthrie during the hearing. “Drug pricing is important to everybody, including President Trump. Innovation and having a market-based system are absolutely important. We see with the pharmaceutical companies, the net price is going down, but we see the list price is going up, and what we’re trying to figure out is where the money is going.”   

Last week, the subcommittee held a hearing with patients, physicians, and advocates about the impact high costs have had on patients who need insulin to survive.

Click here to watch footage from the full hearing.