Lawsuit accuses drug makers of conspiring to hike insulin prices
More than 29 million Americans live with diabetes, and for some six million of them, insulin is a life or death medication.
Between 2002 and 2013, the price of insulin more than tripled, to more than $700 per patient. A federal lawsuit accuses the three insulin manufacturers of conspiring to raise their prices. The drug makers deny the allegations.
Those high prices, combined with rising insurance deductibles, mean many people who rely on insulin are feeling sticker shock. Even doctors say without a way to pay, some patients are left facing impossible choices, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.
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A cell phone video shows Dr. Claresa Levetan talking to her patient Shawna Thompson back in the hospital because she couldn’t pay for her insulin.
“One vial of insulin costs how much for you?” Levetan asked.
“One hundred and seventy-eight dollars,” Thompson responded.
It was the fourth time in just over a year that Thompson had to be treated for a life-threatening diabetic coma.
“Patients come in and say I can’t afford to take it, so I’m not,” Levetan said. She said it’s common for her now to hand out free drug company samples of insulin, just so patients can stay on their lifesaving medication.
“Patients are begging for samples because they can’t afford the insulin,” Levetan said.
“Not asking, you’re saying, begging,” Werner said.
“Begging,” Levetan said.
Like 74-year-old Kathleen Washington. Some months, her insulin runs over $30 Continue reading