Endocrine Society Expert to Testify Before Congress About Insulin Affordability

Endocrine Society member and diabetes expert Alvin C. Powers, MD, will testify before the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Tuesday about the rising cost of insulin and the challenges this poses for individuals with diabetes who depend on the life-saving drug.

As director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center and Chief of the Vanderbilt Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, Powers treats patients who are struggling to pay for their insulin. People are being hospitalized unnecessarily and even dying as a result of rationing their insulin.

Insulin prices have tripled during the past 15 years. About 7 million people in the United States use insulin to control their blood sugar and avoid life-changing complications, including dialysis, amputation, and heart disease. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin for survival. Even though the drug has been in existence for about 100 years, the price has continued to rise. Given these special circumstances, Powers will call on Congress to prioritize insulin in the drug pricing debate.

The Endocrine Society has called for instituting policies to reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients while measures are enacted to lower actual insulin prices. In its position statement issued in November 2018, the Society recommended increasing transparency in the supply chain to better understand and address the forces driving spiraling insulin costs.

The position statement advocated for limiting future list price increases, limiting patients’ share of costs to a co-pay, passing along rebates to consumers without increasing out-of-pocket costs, ensuring Patient Assistance Programs are less restrictive and offer an accessible, common application for multiple programs, and including up-to-date formulary and price information in electronic medical records.

Powers recently discussed insulin affordability with the Endocrine News podcast. Visit https://www.endocrine.org/podcast to listen to his interview. The podcast is also available for Apple and Android devices.

What: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing titled “Priced Out of a Lifesaving Drug: The Human Impact of Rising Insulin Costs”

Date: April 2, 2019

Time: 10:30 AM

Location: 2322 Rayburn House Office Building

For more information, visit the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s website. To request a copy of Powers’ testimony, email media@endocrine.org.

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