Endocrine Society Urges Congress to Pass Legislation to Lower Insulin Prices

Applauds reintroduction of H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act to improve access to affordable medications

The Endocrine Society is calling on Congress to pass legislation to lower the price of insulin and applauds the efforts of Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), and Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) to reintroduce H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act  to improve access to affordable medications.

In January, the Society published a position statement on insulin access and affordability, which recommends policy makers include government negotiation as part of an overall strategy to reduce insulin prices.

The Society believes that Congress must act immediately to address the urgent issue of insulin affordability. More than 34 million Americans have diabetes, and another 88 million are at risk for developing the disease. For many people with diabetes, insulin is a life-saving medication. However, the price of insulin has nearly tripled in the past 15 years, making it difficult for people with diabetes to manage their chronic disease.

Low-income individuals, those on high deductible health plans, beneficiaries using Medicare Part B to cover insulin delivered via pump, Medicare beneficiaries in the Part D donut hole, and those who turn 26 and must transition from their parents’ insurance increasingly face difficult decisions about how to afford the insulin they require and avoid unnecessary complications and hospitalizations.

H.R. 3 would lower the cost of prescription drugs by:

  • Empowering the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate better prescription drug prices in Medicare and make those negotiated prices available to commercial health insurance plans;
  • Capping Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs at $2,000 per year;
  • Reversing years of price increases by requiring drug manufacturers to pay a rebate back to the federal government if they increase prices faster than inflation; and
  • Reinvesting federal cost-savings in the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration to support research and development of new breakthrough treatments and cures, as well as making investments in combatting the opioid crisis.

The lack of transparency in the drug supply chain has made it challenging to identify and address the causes of these soaring prices. The Society believes government negotiation of drug prices is one way to improve affordability and looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration to address this critically important issue, which impacts millions of Americans.

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