Society Advocates for Important Diabetes Research Programs, Access, and Affordability

The Endocrine Society is a leading advocate on several issues that would increase access to diabetes coverage and funding for important research. See below for recent highlights of our activities concerning the reauthorization of the Special Diabetes Program, insulin affordability, and diabetes testing supplies.

  • Special Diabetes Program – Ensuring continuation of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) is a top priority for the Endocrine Society. The lives of over 114 million Americans living with or at-risk for developing diabetes are being changed through SDP; however, funding will expire on September 30 if Congress fails to act. SDP is comprised of two programs — the Special Diabetes Program for Type 1 Diabetes and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians. Congress created these programs in 1997 to advance research for type 1 diabetes at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders and to provide treatment and education programs for type 2 diabetes among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Together, these programs have proven to be a critical pathway to preventing and treating diabetes and its complications. The Society has been working with the Congressional Diabetes Caucus and the diabetes community to ensure that SDP is reauthorized by the deadline. Through these efforts, more than 400 members of Congress signed onto a letter of support for these important programs.

Ensuring continuation of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) is a top priority for the Endocrine Society. The lives of over 114 million Americans living with or at-risk for developing diabetes are being changed through SDP; however, funding will expire on September 30 if Congress fails to act.

  • Insulin Pricing – Ensuring access to affordable insulin is another key issue for the Endocrine Society. Since testifying before the Congressional Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee in April, we have been working with manufacturers to better understand how patients can benefit from various assistance programs offered by these companies. We also submitted testimony to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which held a hearing to discuss opportunities to increase competition for biosimilars, including insulin. In our testimony, the Society commended the FDA for holding the hearing and underscored our hope that the introduction of new biosimilar insulin products would lower costs for patients. The full testimony can be accessed at org/testimony. In addition, the Society responded to a proposal by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would eliminate rebates arranged between manufacturers and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). While we are supportive of efforts to eliminate rebates that artificially inflate drug prices, we shared concerns about how this change would impact patients and the drug pricing system overall. We are supportive of consumer protections to ensure that this proposal would reduce out-of-pocket costs to the patients and offered a number of questions for the administration to consider when finalizing the proposal.

The Society responded to a proposal by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would eliminate rebates arranged between manufacturers and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). While we are supportive of efforts to eliminate rebates that artificially inflate drug prices, we shared concerns about how this change would impact patients and the drug pricing system overall.

  • Diabetes Test Strips – We have also been working to address recent policy changes by CVS that prevents Medicare patients from accessing the diabetes testing supplies needed to manage their diabetes. In January, CVS issued a policy limiting the quantity of diabetes supplies for patients on insulin to no more than three per day. However, many patients, particularly those with type 1 diabetes, must test their blood sugar more than three times per day. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) covers additional test strips and lancets if the prescribing physician documents why it is medically necessary. This documentation has been difficult for CVS to access, resulting in extensive audits and leading to the policy change. The Society met with CVS requesting that they rescind this policy and we plan to work with both the company and CMS to rectify the situation.

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