Insulin price spike leaves diabetes patients in crisis
A massive spike in insulin prices is causing a health crisis for millions of diabetes patients who depend on the lifesaving drug, doctors say.
Now, after years of rapid increases having nothing to do with available supply and not matched elsewhere in the world, those in the U.S. insulin supply chain are blaming one another.
Tens of thousands of medical professionals are engaged in an intricate therapeutic ballet performed to protect the health, limbs and lives of the almost 30 million people in the U.S. suffering from diabetes.
But their efforts have been dramatically complicated by the soaring increase in the cost of insulin. They find themselves balancing the cost of the essential medication and their patients’ ability to pay.
“The manipulation of insulin cost is a medical crisis in Montana and everywhere else in this country,” said Dr. Justen Rudolph, a diabetes specialist at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings. “My patients having trouble with their insulin availability range from teenagers to a 90-year-old man, and there’s not a day that goes by when I’m not talking to a patient about the cost of their insulin.
“They try to spread out the insulin they have to make do, and that’s not how you can control diabetes,” said Rudolph.
“Precision is needed to ensure the patient is getting the best type of insulin for their specific condition, in the right doses, at the right time to achieve the greatest benefit,” said Dr. Irl Hirsch, professor of medicine in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition at the University of Washington in Seattle.