E&C Leaders Follow Up with Pharmaceutical Manufacturers on the High Cost of Insulin
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) sent letters to three manufacturers of insulin in the U.S.—Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi—following up on January 2019 letters to those companies and requesting additional information, including any specific steps the companies have taken to lower the cost of insulin and increase patient access since the Committee’s initial letters.
The Committee leaders’ request today follows letters they sent in January 2019 to the three companies as well as two hearings later that year on April 2 and April 10 on the human impact of the rising cost of insulin. Executives from the three companies testified at the April 10 hearing and voiced concerns about the affordability challenges people living with diabetes face in accessing the lifesaving drug.
“When we last wrote to you in January 2019, we noted that the price of insulin had continually and unjustifiably skyrocketed over the past few decades,” the Committee leaders wrote to the three insulin manufacturers. “The Committee is troubled that despite your company’s expressions of shared concern, insulin prices in the United States remain unacceptably high. This is particularly frustrating considering Americans continue to bear a disproportionately high financial burden for their insulin compared to diabetes patients in other countries. One study showed that the average list price for insulin in the United States is more than 10 times that of 33 other countries.”
The Committee leaders remain concerned that many individuals suffering from diabetes are left without meaningful access to insulin due its cost, despite its discovery nearly 100 years ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated the challenges experienced by the over 34 million Americans—10.5 percent of the United States population—who have diabetes, many of whom struggle to access health care and food in addition to the insulin that they need to maintain their health.
“We are committed to increasing access to affordable medicines and fighting the rising cost of insulin,” Pallone and DeGette continued. “Given your company’s representations in 2019 that this is a shared concern, we are interested in learning what has been done to alleviate this issue since that time.”
As part of their inquiry, the Committee leaders requested additional information from the three companies by September 17, 2021, including:
- An explanation and description of any list or net price increases since January 2019 for the companies’ marketed insulin products.
- The gross revenue and net profit by product and year from each of the companies’ marketed insulin products since January 2019.
- Descriptions of the steps the companies have taken since January 2019 to increase patient access to insulin, including specifically any steps taken to lower the cost of insulin since January 2019.
- Descriptions of whether the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the companies’ insulin products in any way, including manufacturing or supply challenges, alteration of planned pricing changes, or revisions to patient access programs.
The letters to each of the insulin manufacturers are available below: