SuperTalk Mississippi

Insulin prices shoot up, leaving many without

JACKSON, Miss.- Insulin was discovered nearly 100 years ago and just recently the price has climbed nearly 700 percent in just the last two decades. 

What caused the price increase? Many link it to the boost for EpiPen, a life-saving medication that many carry in the event of an allergic reaction. From 1996 to 2016 the cost has risen from $21 to $255 per vial, according to

On Nov. 17 the American Diabetes Association (ADA) called for Congress to investigate the insulin price rise and help find solutions for individuals with diabetes who are in a financial hardship and cannot afford the medicine.

“Insulin is not a luxury,” said Dr. Desmond Schatz, president of medicine and science for the ADA. “The current situation is unacceptable. We have to make sure there is access for everyone, and that’s why we’re calling on Congress to hold hearings to identify why there’s been such a dramatic increase in insulin prices.”

Insulin was first discovered in 1921 by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Fredrick Banting and medical student Charles Best at the University of Toronto. They sold the patent for insulin to the University for $1.

Insulin companies see the problem. Many with higher deductible insurance plans, or no insurance at all are settling for an older form of the drug because that is all they can afford. So the ADA is asking for insurance companies, and producers to come together to offer transparency into the high price.

One insulin manufacturer, Sanofi, described the problem another way.

The company said in a written statement that the list price for its insulin drug Lantus hasn’t increased since November 2014. “In fact, the net price of Lantus over the cumulative period of the last five years has decreased because of efforts to remain included on formularies at a favorable tier, which helps to reduce the out-of-pocket costs to patients,” the Sanofi statement said.

For more information on how to purchase affordable insulin visit the ADA’s website. 

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