Rising Insulin Prices Have Diabetics Crying Foul


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Insulin prices are only getting more painful.

Drugmakers Eli Lilly (LLY) and Novo Nordisk recently boosted their insulin list prices by almost 8 percent each, adding to concerns that treating diabetes is unaffordable for some patients. The average price of insulin almost tripled between 2002 and 2013, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Even before the most recent price hike, some diabetics were cutting back or even going without the drug because of its expense.

The price hikes come at a sensitive time for the drugmakers as Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and rival Sanofi-Aventis are facing a class-action lawsuit alleging they conspired to raise their prices in lockstep. Almost one in 10 Americans has diabetes, a group of conditions where the body fails to properly regulate blood sugar. People with Type 1 diabetes, often referred to as juvenile diabetes, need to take insulin daily to stay alive.

“We were really disappointed in this announcement,” said Dr. William Cefalu, the chief scientific, medical and mission officer for the ADA, who noted that his organization has partnerships for research with the drugmakers. “This is really going in the wrong direction.”


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