Lawmakers in both parties vow to rein in insulin costs

Members of Congress from both parties on Wednesday vowed to work together on legislation to prevent more people from dying because they cannot afford insulin. Rep.

Members of Congress from both parties on Wednesday vowed to work together on legislation to prevent more people from dying because they cannot afford insulin. Rep. Earl "Buddy" Carter (R-GA) said at the end of a 3-hour hearing with pharmaceutical and PBM executives, "You've done something here today that we've been trying to do in Congress for years, and that is to create bipartisanship. This is going to end," Carter said of the arrangements that drive up list prices of insulin and the out-of-pocket costs for many people with diabetes. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) concurred, noting that "on both sides of the aisle, there is a commitment" to end price gouging by insulin manufacturers. Insulin manufacturers said that prices are going up, in part, because they had made many improvements in insulin products, leading to better treatment and longer lives for people with diabetes. Executives from the drug makers said they could not reduce list prices because it was not feasible to do so in "the system" as it now exists. In that system, they said, PBMs and insurance companies demand discounts, rebates, and other price concessions that are calculated as a percentage of the list price. And they provide the concessions to guarantee that their drugs will be covered. They added that the net price they received for insulin—after discounts and rebates—was declining, even as the list prices were rising.