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New insulin report highlights how incentives benefit middlemen, harm patients


The US Senate Finance Committee has released a new report detailing findings of its investigation into the role that market dynamics play in the pricing of insulins.

The report conclusions further solidify what we already know: perverse incentives in the market drove up insulin costs for patients, according to a posting on the Pharmaceutical and Research Manufacturers of America website, by Brian Newell, deputy vice president of public affairs at PhRMA.

Many insulins have experienced significant net price declines in recent years.

  • Since 2014, the net prices for the most commonly used classes of insulins have declined by 40%-50%, on average. In fact, insulins are less expensive today than in 2007.

  • As the Senate Finance Committee explains, “insulin manufacturers compete fiercely, using rebates as bargaining chips,” to secure favorable coverage on pharmacy benefit managers’ (PBMs) formularies. In fact, according to SSR Health, last year these dynamics lowered the net price of insulins by 83%, on average.

But patients are NOT sharing in the savings. While the existing system results in increasing rebates and discounts and declining net prices for insulin, these savings are often not used to lower patients’ out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter. Continue Reading


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