The Growing Cost of Insulin

Zion Research has published a new report titled “Human Insulin Market”  in the report they state that Global Human Insulin market accounted for USD 27.00 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach USD 43.6 billion by 2021, growing at a rate of around 8.3% between 2016 and 2021.

The price of insulin has tripled in the past decade, some individuals are paying $400-$500 a month for their insulin.  A physician who has tracked the cost of insulin states that the wholesale price in 2001 was $45. In 2015 it has jumped 3000 percent to $1447.  How has this happened, as stated in the article about biosimilar insulin in this newsletter there are only three companies that have the patents for insulin.  Pharmaceutical companies defend the cost as justified to cover the funding of new types of insulin. 

According to the Zion report, even if biosimilars are developed the increased numbers of individuals with diabetes is growing; the number of individuals requiring insulin is growing; the technological advances in insulin delivery devices; and favorable medical reimbursements are all fueling the growth.

In 2015, North America had the largest share in the global insulin market.  This growth is attributed to the high prevalence of diabetes, the technological advances and government support. European countries are also seeing growth of revenue as the incidence of type 1 diabetes is increasing and the use of insulin therapy has been influenced by the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial and the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS), both of which showed the importance of tight metabolic control in patients with diabetes.

Attention is being drawn to this problem as recent reports about the rising cost of EpiPens received a significant amount of press.  Health care professionals and diabetes organizations are looking at these issues and bringing them to the attention of legislators.  It is important that we raise awareness. As an individual you must make your voice heard.  Contact DRWF with your story, contact your legislators and let them know that they need to look at this problem. 

Health insurances are asking more of their insurers to bear the burden and as a result individuals are experiencing hard choices – do they take the insulin they need to live or do they try to stretch their supply? 

Download the card or the DRWF Drug Discount App. *This card cannot be used with insurance.

Published in the Diabetes Wellnes Newsletter November, 2016 issue