Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs Collins, Shahe…

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**In April, the bicameral co-chairs of the Senate and House caucuses on diabetes revealed their top policy priorities to limit out-of-pocket costs for diabetes patients and encourage insulin manufacturers to lower list prices**

Click on HERE for a hi-res photo of (left to right) Cynthia Rice, JDRF Mission Strategy Lead; Senator Shaheen; Senator Collins; Duncan Ryan, T1D Patient Advocate; and Dr. Robert Gabbay, scientific and medical director of the American Diabetes Association

Click HERE for a poster describing the difference between the list price and the net price of a form of insulin between 2012 and 2021.

Click on HERE for the video of Senator Collins’ remarks. Click on HERE for the full press conference video.

washington d.c. – US Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) – co-chairs of the Senate on Diabetes – announced their new bipartisan legislation, the Improved Safeguards Needed for Users of Lifesaving Insulin Now (INSULIN) Act, in order to reduce the dizzying costs of insulin. The new bipartisan legislation builds on earlier efforts by Collins and Shaheen, increasing measures to encourage insulin makers to lower list prices, while expanding patient protections that will promote competition and broader access to products. insulin that they desperately need. Senators Collins and Shaheen held a press conference today with representatives from advocacy organizations and stakeholders to discuss the urgent need to reduce insulin costs.

More than 37 million Americans live with diabetes, including about one in three seniors. Untreated diabetes can lead to vision problems, nerve damage, kidney failure, heart disease, strokes, and ultimately death. It is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, claiming more than 100,000 lives in 2021. Diabetes is also the country’s most expensive chronic disease, costing a total of $327 billion annually. Medical costs for Americans with diabetes are more than double those incurred by people without diabetes, and one in three Medicare dollars is spent treating people with diabetes.

Insulin is one of the most expensive classes of drugs purchased by private and government health care payers. The rising cost of insulin is a barrier to care for a growing number of Americans with diabetes. The outlays increase with list prices, and for those without insurance, the costs are unsustainable. Between 2012 and 2016, the average list price for insulin nearly doubled. According to the Health Care Cost Institute, the price of an average 40-day supply of insulin rose from $344 in 2012 to $666 in 2016.

“Access to insulin can mean the difference between life and death for many Americans with diabetes. For too long, patients have stretched their budgets, rationed insulin, and made tough personal decisions to keep this medicine close at hand for themselves or their loved ones. Bringing Democrats and Republicans together to address the rising cost of insulin has long been a priority for us as Senate Diabetes Co-Chairs, and today we are announcing a bipartisan proposal to achieve this shared goal. », said Senators Collins and Shaheen. “Our legislation would extend badly needed patient protections to Americans with diabetes by encouraging manufacturers to lower list prices for insulin. This legislation is the result of months of good faith negotiations and input from legislators, of advocates and experts. It is critical that Congress act quickly, which is why we are calling on Senate leaders to introduce our legislation as soon as possible. There is support on both sides of the aisle for this proposal and the American people cannot – and should not – to have to wait another moment to be relieved.

“The American Diabetes Association is proud to endorse the INSULIN Act introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Susan Collins, legislation that is expected to have a historic impact on the diabetes community by dramatically reducing the cost of insulin,” said Lisa Murdock, director of advocacy for the American Diabetes Association. “More than 37 million Americans have diabetes, and one in four insulin-dependent people with diabetes report rationing their insulin for economic reasons. We urge Congress to address the prohibitive and rising cost of insulin by passing the INSULIN Act.

“JDRF is extremely grateful to Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Susan Collins for working tirelessly to find a bipartisan solution that would solve the exorbitant cost of insulin and make this lifesaving medicine more affordable for those who need it, whether they have whether or not insurance. We are very pleased that the Insulin Act includes several key provisions that we have long advocated for and we look forward to Senate approval of a finalized bill,” said Aaron J. Kowalski, CEO, JDRF.

The legislation of Senators Collins and Shaheen:

  • Create a program where patients would receive lifesaving protections on insulin products with reduced insulin prices by:
  • Ensure that insurance plans and drug benefit managers cannot collect discounts on insulins that limit the list price to net 2021 prices for Medicare Part D or equivalent levels;
  • Make these insulins eligible for cost-sharing protections, including waiving any applicable deductibles and limiting copayments or coinsurance to a maximum of $35 per month or 25% of list price; and,
  • Supporting patient access to these insulins by ensuring coverage and prior authorization, step therapy, or other medical management requirements cannot be imposed to limit recipient use.

  • Limit out-of-pocket expenses for diabetic patients by:
    • Ensure that group, individual market, Medicare Part D, and Medicare Advantage health plans must waive any deductibles and limit cost sharing to a maximum of $35 per month or 25% of list price, for at least one insulin of each type and dosage form.

Senators Collins and Shaheen will officially introduce their bill in the coming days. The senators intend to fully offset the package pending a final score from the Congressional Budget Office.

A page on the legislation is available here, and a section-by-section summary is available here.

The text of the law is available here.

As co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Senators Collins and Shaheen have worked to raise awareness of the threats posed by diabetes, invest in research and improve access to treatment options. They have consistently held insulin manufacturers, insurers and drug benefit managers accountable for the skyrocketing cost of life-saving insulin.

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