The Rising Prices of Pharmaceuticals: Diabetes

by Karis Kelly

Within the past 10 years, drug costs have risen dramatically. A combination of Big Pharma, insurance deductibles rising, and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have been a catalyst for the rising pharmaceutical costs. According to Consumer Reports, diabetes medication Lantus has increased its price by 24% over six years. In 2014, this life-saving medication cost $408 a month. Whereas in 2019, Lantus cost $504 a month. The rising prices of diabetes medications have hurt families across the US.


Dr. Kathy Starr, a pediatrician with a diabetic son, discussed “...it [insulin] has cost a co-pay of $30-50/month… [insurance] would not approve of more insulins so we had to pay over $300 for a small vial...his insulin pump and a continuous glucose meter. This can add up to $3000-4000/year, but it is so vital”. Proper medications and equipment for those with diabetes are vital for survival. Without treatments, a myriad of complications can occur such as heart disease, stroke, and more.


Rising prices of diabetes medications can affect anyone, but especially seniors. According to the American Diabetes Association, 26.8% of diabetes cases are in adults 65+ in the U.S. Dr. Urvashi Thakkar, a pharmacist, discussed that many seniors have fixed incomes, which makes it hard for many to afford the expenses. Sometimes it is the choice between a needed medication and rent or food. Most will choose food or rent over their medications. This creates a tremendous problem.


With rising pharmaceutical prices across the board, more and more families and individuals are struggling to keep up. The main concern of rising prices can affect anyone, but those with fixed incomes are especially affected. Some suggest that big pharma should work with PBMs to help lower the prices. Overall, diabetes medication prices are rising and are affecting more and more people every day.

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