Shedding Light on the Dark Art of Insulin Pricing

(March 22) – Rep. Dylan Roberts’ bill to add transparency around drug pricing for Coloradans with diabetes passed the House Health, Insurance & Environment Committee today.

About 200,000 Coloradans take insulin, a life-or-death drug for all Type 1 diabetes patients and for many Type 2 patients. HB18-1009, a part of the House Democrats’ consumer protection agenda, is sponsored by Rep. Roberts, D-Eagle, and would require additional disclosure of insulin pricing and revenue information by pharmaceutical corporations, pharmacy benefit managers, insurers and nonprofits.

  • Drug manufacturers would report insulin production costs, annual profits from insulin, rebate and financial assistance, and wholesale costs, among other stats.
  • Pharmacy managers would report negotiated rebates for insulin and the total amount of rebates provided for insulin, and specifically for Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance patients.
  • Insurers would report the percentage of total premiums charged to Coloradans from the previous year and the estimates for the following year of covered insulin; annual increase or decrease in insurer insulin costs; annual and monthly enrollee insulin costs.
  • Nonprofits would report donations from pharmaceuticals corporations.

Noncompliance would be subject to fines of up to $10,000 per day.

“Providing transparency is an important first step,” Rep. Roberts said. “People who need insulin have no choice but to buy it. They at least deserve to have some idea of what they’re paying for and why the price keeps going up.”

The actual quality of insulin has not changed in any significant way since the mid-1990s. What has changed is the price. Over the past 20 years, all three U.S. insulin manufacturers have increased list prices on insulin by more than 1,200 percent. Manufacturers often increase insulin prices by the exact same amount on the exact same day. People with high-deductible insurance policies, or no insurance at all, are paying more than $1,000 a month for their insulin when only 20 years ago they were paying about $90.

The Health, Insurance & Environment Committee voted 7-6 to advance HB18-1009 to the Appropriations Committee.


Leave a Reply