Studies report that the cost of insulin has risen by triple-digit percentages.

Low-Income Diabetics Paying High Price For Insulin

The high cost of insulin, which has risen by triple-digit percentages in the last five years, is endangering the lives of many diabetics who can’t afford the price tag, say Connecticut physicians who treat diabetics. The doctors say that the out-of-pocket costs for insulin, ranging from $25 to upwards of $600 a month, depending on insurance coverage, are forcing many of their low-income patients to choose between treatment and paying their bills. “Some of my patients have to make the choice between rent or insulin,” said Dr. Bismruta Misra, an endocrinologist with the Stamford Health Medical Group. “So they spread out taking insulin [injecting it less frequently than a doctor has prescribed] or don’t take it.”

Experts and recent studies point to drug companies’ long-standing patents and the lack of generic or “biosimilar” insulin as key reasons why the drug is so expensive. A study by Philip Clarke, a professor of health economics at the University of Melbourne in Australia, reported that the price of insulin has tripled from 2002-2013.

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High Prescribers with the Biggest Pharma Paychecks

40% Of High-Prescribing Docs Get Pharma Perks

The dual role of doctors as heavy prescribers and drug company marketers has come under fire by patient advocates and some members of Congress, who secured a provision in the federal Affordable Care Act that requires pharmaceutical companies to publicly report all payments to physicians by September 2013. The disclosure rule was prompted by concerns that industry payments to doctors could influence their treatment decisions and fuel higher costs.

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Medications and Cash

Disciplined Docs Reap Drug Company Benefits

In 2010, as state health officials were investigating allegations that Dr. Gerson Sternstein of Berlin was overmedicating patients, three pharmaceutical companies were showering thousands of dollars on the psychiatrist for meals and speaking engagements. Some of the payments continued even after his license was suspended in August 2010.

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