5 Takeaways On the Insulin Pricing Crisis From Congressman Joe Kennedy III

insulin kennedy pricing

-Craig Idlebrook

In May, T1D Exchange Glu interviewed Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy about the insulin pricing crisis. Below, we provide five quotes that particularly resonated from the interview:

1. Congressman Kennedy argues that those who discovered insulin therapy intended it to be affordable:

“Insulin is literally a drug upon which the lives of millions of people depend, and it is a drug that, at least one formulation, was discovered decades ago. The scientists recognized the power of insulin, and the widespread need for it, and they sold it not for gajillions of dollars, but for one dollar to a university to ensure everybody could get access to it.”

2. He says there is bipartisan pressure to address the insulin pricing crisis because the recent price increases have gotten too high to ignore:

5 Takeaways On the Insulin Pricing Crisis, Featuring Congressman Joe Kennedy III

Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA)

“….is it has gotten to the point that it is so egregious. Over the course of the last four or five years, you’ve seen drastic price increases for no other reason than the companies can do it. At a certain point, even those who haven’t wanted to act to address this, you can’t…you can’t…there’s no justification for it.”

3. The congressman is skeptical that rebates funneled to the patient from pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) will provide much relief:

“One of the challenges we’ve seen with PBM rebates is the lack of transparency to ensure that those PBMs are, in fact, passing that rebate onto the patient. When we try to get access to that information, they say, ‘Look, it’s proprietary, and it’s in a black box,” and no one actually gets to see it.’”

4. He says the promise of innovation in diabetes care is empty unless there is affordable access to that innovation:

“I live right outside of Boston, Massachusetts, one of the great centers of health care innovation in this world, and I’m all for innovation in health care…but those incentives do nothing if after creating those innovations, you do not allow patients who would benefit from them to access them.”

5. He will no longer accept money from insulin companies or PBMs:

“There are a number of different companies whose donations I’ve stopped taking money from for very real concerns of the way that the companies behave, and the way that they fall short on providing patients access to the pharmaceutical drugs that they need to be healthy or survive.”

To read the full interview, click here.

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