Insulin's high cost leads to lethal rationing

The escalating price of insulin has made the hormone unaffordable for many of the diabetic Americans whose lives it could save. At a cost of more than $250 per single vial, costs can quickly snowball for people who need two to four vials every month—especially if they are not insured.

The escalating price of insulin has made the hormone unaffordable for many of the diabetic Americans whose lives it could save. At a cost of more than $250 per single vial, costs can quickly snowball for people who need two to four vials every month—especially if they are not insured. To try to stretch their supply of the drug, which regulates blood glucose, rationing supplies has become a way of life for some individuals. Roughly 1 in 4 diabetics has tried it, according to one survey, and some have died as a result of it. While some critics point the finger at PBMs or the use of patents, online activists blame Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, and Eli Lilly & Co.—the top three manufacturers of insulin. Diabetic patients in Massachusetts have lodged a lawsuit against the firms in U.S. federal court, claiming that the prices are rising at the sacrifice of patient health.