Given the dramatic increases in the cost of insulin over the past decade, the Endocrine Society has been focusing on ways to address patient access to this lifesaving therapy for patients with diabetes.
Our members continue to express great concern about the impact that rising insulin costs have on their patients’ diabetes treatment, as well as their ability to provide high-quality care. Over the past two years, the Society has been working with key stakeholders to increase transparency across the supply chain and to identify potential solutions to tackle this critical issue. As a result of this work, the co-chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Tom Reed (R-NY), reached out to the Society for its expertise in this area with a series of questions about physician prescribing decisions, non-medical switching, and patient assistance programs. To address these questions, we held a series of focus groups during CEU in Chicago with endocrinologists from a variety of practice settings to better understand the impact to their practices and their patients. The Society submitted a written response to Representatives DeGette and Reed detailing these findings in late October.
The Endocrine Society has also been working with the American Medical Association to further identify legislative or regulatory pathways to reduce the cost burden on patients and to improve physicians’ ability to care for their patients with diabetes. At the November AMA House of Delegates meeting, the Endocrine Society and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists introduced a resolution that urged the AMA to pursue several initiatives aimed at improving insulin affordability for patients with diabetes.
The resolution called on the AMA to convene a summit to identify potential solutions to the dramatic increase in insulin costs and also advocate for initiatives to reduce patient cost-sharing for insulins, stabilize drug formularies throughout a plan year to reduce non-medical switching of insulin products; facilitate greater transparency of insulin pricing and integrate drug formularies into electronic health records.
Overwhelming support for addressing insulin costs and their impact on patients expressed on the floor of the House of Delegates led to a unanimous vote for the AMA to study these issues and provide a report with findings and recommendations to the House of Delegates at the 2018 Annual Meeting in June.
The Endocrine Society looks forward to working with the AMA as it moves forward in developing these recommendations and with the Congressional Diabetes Caucus as it explores potential solutions to this critically important issue.