We need to correct a wrong. We're overdue for the correction. So we're hoping for a rapid passing and signing of Illinois Senate Bill 667, introduced by Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).
Insulin is literally the elixir of life for diabetics. Over 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes, and their suffering isn't limited to watching their diet and tracking their blood sugar. For those with type 1 diabetes (about 7.4 million Americans), the pancreas cannot make insulin, a hormone vital to keeping blood sugar steady. Unless they are able to supplement their body with insulin (via injection of a liquid that's approaching the 100th anniversary of its creation), diabetics can get nerve damage, blindness, heart problems, and they can die from ketoacidosis.
The insulin they need to inject regularly because their body does not produce enough of it is a prescription drug. It's a prescription drug that's tripled in cost in the last decade, despite the product being exactly the same as it was 10 years ago.
The three primary insulin manufacturers — Eli Lilly and Company, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi — told Congress in the spring that it's not feasible to reduce list prices because drug benefit managers and insurance companies expect discounts and other price concessions that are calculated as part of the list prices. They admitted that people with high-deductible health insurance and people who are uninsured don't receive the discounts. So the manufacturers claim the problem is with the United States healthcare insurance system.
That may be true. However, fixing the healthcare system is a long-term project. While ideas for reforms crawl through the red tape of our system, people are dying.
You have free articles remaining.
Isn't it depressing how often that is the case with so many critical issues?
Because of the cost, some diabetics feel forced to ration their prescriptions. Some travel to Canada, where the drug is cheaper. Some look for lower prices on black markets. Some push their bodies to the limit and beyond, potentially undoing all the good their prior use of the drug and leaving their bodies open to damage. Some have to decide between heating their living quarters and the drug they need to live.
Manar's bill would throw diabetics a lifeline, capping the costs for diabetics at $100 a month. That's a tremendous and potentially life-saving maneuver, especially helping out those who spend anywhere from $500 to $800 to $1,200 monthly. The bill has moved through the Senate. If it passes an upcoming vote in the House, it would go to Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The legislation is endorsed by advocacy organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, Illinois State Medical Society, Illinois Pharmacists Association and AARP.
This isn't a magic bullet that will solve health-related financial difficulties for diabetics. It's a step. The bill also instructs Illinois' attorney general office to investigate the price spike.
The effort has been taken up federally and in many other states. The early warnings haven't fazed drug companies, who continue to increase the price of the drug without adequate explanation. Manar's bill and the others are at the very least notice of impatience with the increases, and are overdue.