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Standing Alongside Albany Residents Who Need Insulin Daily, Schumer Announces He Will Demand Vote On Insulin Cost Cap; List Prices For Insulin Rise Rapidly, With Average Increase Of 15 – 17% Per Year Since 2012

Under Plan, Price For Insulin Could Not Exceed $35; An Amazing 1 In 4 Are NOW Rationing The Drug Because Of Cost

Schumer: No Albany Family Should Ever Be Forced To Ration Insulin, We Must Cap The Cost To Save Lives 

Standing shoulder to shoulder with Albany residents with diabetes who need insulin daily, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer doubled down on his push to reduce the outrageous cost of the drug and announced he will call for a Senate vote in March to get the cost down from $200-$600 per prescription to a cap of $35. Schumer said that the price of insulin has been rising rapidly for years, with an average increase of 15-17% per year since 2012. Schumer further said that 1 in 4 Americans now ration the drug, which is potentially life threatening; Schumer unveiled his Affordable Insulin Now Act to improve access to this life-saving medicine and ensuring that families like those in Albany will never be forced to ration this critical drug due to unreasonably high cost.

“Every single day, millions of Americans and countless people right here in Albany with diabetes are being forced to make impossible decisions, paying more and more for their insulin or rationing it so it lasts longer, and this has got to end. No Albany family should have to go bankrupt just because they need insulin to survive and I am here to say that I will call for a Senate vote on capping this cost come March,” said Senator Schumer. “The current cost of this life-saving drug runs from $300-$600 per prescription; it is not just ridiculous it’s dangerous. Millions of Americans and too many Capital Region residents stand with me on this push to cap the cost of insulin at $35 so we can stop rationing this drug, and finally make insulin more affordable and accessible for all Americans.” 

“Children with diabetes need insulin to live, but for too many families, the skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs make it difficult to pay for this essential medicine, even when they have insurance,” said Linda Riddick, M.D., professor of Pediatrics and head of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at Albany Med. “It is even more of a hardship for those without insurance, or those who have high deductibles or high co-pay costs. Insurance also only allows patients a certain amount of insulin per month. Parents have come to us distraught when a vial is lost and insurance won’t cover the replacement, or when a vial drops and breaks and the family is suddenly faced with hundreds of dollars in unexpected medical costs. Capping the out-of-pocket costs of insulin is a critical step toward providing families with some financial relief, and in helping to ensure that everyone who needs this life-saving medication is able to access it.”

Schumer broke down the estimated percentage of adults with diagnosed diabetes according to the CDC, by county in the Capital Region below:

  • In Albany County, an estimated 7.9% of adults are diagnosed with diabetes.
  • In Rensselaer County, an estimated 8.7% of adults are diagnosed with diabetes.
  • In Saratoga County, an estimated 7.8% of adults are diagnosed with diabetes.
  • In Schenectady County, an estimated 9.5% of adults are diagnosed with diabetes.

In New York State alone, an estimated over 1.7 million people, nearly 11% of the adult population, plus over 450,000 New Yorkers who have diabetes but don’t know it.

Schumer explained that the Affordable Insulin Now Act would cap out-of-pocket costs of insulin products at $35 per month for people with private health plans and Medicare Part D plans, including Medicare Advantage drug plans. The bill applies to one of each dosage form (ie. vial, pump, inhaler) of each different type of insulin. Schumer said that the diabetes community and patient advocates have called for these policy changes for years and have worked nonstop to educate Congress and the public about the barriers people with diabetes face in accessing affordable insulin.

According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes account for $1 of every $4 spent on health care in the U.S.  The Health Care Cost Institute estimated that the average price for a 40-day supply of insulin increased from $344 to $666 in just four years. Between 2012-2016, the cost of an insulin prescription in New York nearly doubled to ~$690. Schumer said that patients and payers incur over $15 billion a year in direct medical expenses from diabetes in New York, and another $6 billion in costs due to lost productivity.

Because of these extreme fluctuations and high costs, Schumer explained that some studies estimate that as many as 1 in 4 Americans now ration the drug, which is potentially life threatening. In New York, Black adults with diabetes are almost twice as likely to die than their white or Hispanic counterparts. Diabetes is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States.

Overall numbers from the American Diabetes Association:

  • Prevalence: In 2019, 37.3 million Americans, or 11.3% of the population, had diabetes.
  • Nearly 1.9 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, including about 244,000 children and adolescents
  • Diagnosed and undiagnosed: Of the 37.3 million adults with diabetes, 28.7 million were diagnosed, and 8.5 million were undiagnosed.
  • Prevalence in seniors: The percentage of Americans age 65 and older remains high, at 29.2%, or 15.9 million seniors (diagnosed and undiagnosed).
  • New cases: 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
  • Prediabetes: In 2019, 96 million Americans age 18 and older had prediabetes.