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E&C Leaders Request Information on Skyrocketing Cost of Insulin from Pharmaceutical Companies

Jan 30, 2019
Press Release
“Despite the fact that it has been available for decades, prices for insulin have skyrocketed in recent years, putting it out of reach for many patients.”

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) sent letters to the three manufacturers of insulin in the U.S. today – Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi – requesting information on the root causes of the rising cost of insulin and the obstacles to providing more affordable medication.

Approximately 30 million Americans are living with diabetes and 1.5 million people receive new diagnoses each year making the disease the seventh leading cause of death nationwide. Insulin, which was discovered approximately 100 years ago, is now a critical part of daily treatment for diabetes. And yet, despite insulin’s decades-long availability, prices for the medication have skyrocketed in recent years, putting the lifesaving treatment out of reach for many patients.

“When patients go without insulin—or ration their doses—there can be tragic consequences,” Pallone and DeGette wrote in their letters. “News reports have highlighted stories of diabetics who have died because they could not afford insulin.  No American should suffer because they could not afford their insulin. As one of the few manufacturers of insulin in the United States, your company is well-suited to shed light on these issues and offer potential solutions.” 

As part of their inquiry, the Democrats are requesting documents and answers from each of the companies by February 13, 2019 to a series of questions, including:

  • The average price of each of the companies’ insulin products for the last 10 years as well as an explanation of factors that prompted any price increases;
  • The net profit of the companies’ insulin products each year for the last 10 years;
  • A list of changes or modifications, if any, to the companies’ insulin products over the last 10 years;
  • An explanation of the root causes of rising prices of insulin;
  • An explanation of the barriers to lowering insulin prices and making insulin more affordable;
  • Whether any of the companies have entered into any agreements in the last 10 years that delay, limit, or prevent the availability of generic insulin; and, 
  • How the companies expect the overall market price of insulin to change in the next five years.

The letters are available HERE.