Healthcare Triage News: Why Do Insulin Prices Keep Rising?

Healthcare Triage News: Why Do Insulin Prices Keep Rising?

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Frederick Banting discovered insulin in 1921 and didn’t want to profit off of such a life-saving drug. Fast forward to 2019, and the price of insulin continues to increase year over year. Why is that?





Hospitals target nutrition, other social needs to boost health

Physician Joshua Sharfstein, former Maryland Secretary

Tom Shicowich “really, really, really liked Coca-Cola” before he began a new nutrition program targeting his Type 2 diabetes and weight. Being on a “very tight budget,” he couldn’t afford the fruit and vegetables he cut up for a living at his part-time grocery store job. Dinner was often a pizza or fast food meal he picked up on the way home.

Six months after getting free healthy groceries every week through the Geisinger hospital near his rural Pennsylvania home, Shicowich has cut his blood sugar level from nearly 11 to close to a normal level of 7. The 6′ 5″ former high school track team competitor has lost 35 pounds but is still nearly 200 pounds from his target weight of 250 pounds.

The Geisinger Health System is on its way to making its own numbers. On March 1, Geisinger plans to expand its five-patient pilot project to 50 more of its sickest and highest-cost diabetes patients. So far, all of those participating in Geisinger’s Fresh Food Pharmacy have lost weight, lowered their body mass indices, decreased their use of medication, lowered their cholesterol and improved their hemoglobin A1C levels, says Andrea Feinberg, an internal medicine doctor who is “clinical program champion.”

Geisinger is what’s known as an accountable care organization, which makes it fully responsible for the insurance and all health costs for their patients. They employ the doctors and own the hospitals and insurance company. The better-known Kaiser Permanente is another example. That means unlike other hospitals, their profits aren’t based upon patients’ visits and treatments.

“It is no coincidence that the health systems and hospitals that are doing it the best have aligned their incentives more closely to the health of their patients,” says Joshua Sharfstein, a pediatrician who is a former secretary of health for Maryland and top Food and Drug Administration official. “It’s very hard to ask a hospital that’s getting paid for every preventable admission to invest in ways that would eliminate those admissions.”

Read more:

CVS Health launching an analytics-based initiative to deliver personalized diabetes care

Dive Brief:

  • CVS Health will launch the Transform Diabetes Care program in early 2017 to help its pharmacy benefit management clients.
  • The program will use data analytics to personalize care for diabetes patients and CVS hopes it will allow each participating diabetic client to save as much as $5,000 annually.
  • The goal is to reduce spending on diabetes patients by offering them personalized strategies to improve medication adherence, control over blood glucose levels, and make healthy lifestyle changes.

Medtronic follows Dexcom to go the smartphone route with CGM

Medtronic follows Dexcom to go the smartphone route with CGM

The smartphone-enabled Guardian Connect CGM from Medtronic


Study finds that 23 percent of diabetes treatment cost is avoidable

It is estimated that 1 out of 3 people can be expected to develop the disease in their lifetime. The majority of diabetes patients were found to experience at least one potentially avoidable complication, with a cost averaging  $1,043 per year for patients with private insurance and $1,869 for those with Medicaid. The authors believe the results illustrate the value of using analytics on patient data, supporting the objectives of population health initiatives to identify opportunities for improving treatment while lowering cost.

Insulin prices have skyrocketed, putting drug makers on the defensive

Insulin prices have skyrocketed, putting drug makers on the defensive