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As the heat appears on drug manufacturers that determine the price of insulin and the health insurance companies and intermediaries that determine what the patients pay, a company – Cigna's Express Scripts – announced on Wednesday that it will take action before the end of the year Helping limits the cost of the drug to consumers.
Express Scripts, which manages prescription drug insurance for more than 80 million people, launches a "Patient Insurance Program", which Steve Miller, Cigna's chief clinic officer, says "caps the copay for a $ 25 monthly patient for their insulin – no matter what. "
The move of Express Scripts comes as legislators are focused on high drug prices and listening to stories of patients who cannot afford their medication.
Insulin has become a major focus. A Minnesota man died last year, according to his mother, trying to ration his insulin because he couldn't afford the $ 1,300 monthly price.
Although the drug has been in use for more than a century, the price in the US is 10 times higher than 20 years ago, according to a report from the House of Representatives released last week.
"What We Hope We Want To See More Diabetics Taking More Insulin, [fewer] complications for these patients, and hopefully lowering the cost of healthcare," says Miller Shots.
Express Scripts covers 1.4 million people taking insulin, Siger Miller.
During the discount program, patients who have not met their deductible and would normally pay the entire bargain price of their insulin will pay $ 25. The same applies to those whose normal copying is a percentage of that retail price. Miller says that average patients pay approx. $ 40 a month for insulin copying – but the price can vary widely from month to month depending on the design of a patient's prescription drug plan.
The announcement from Express Scripts, one of the major pharmacist's advantage leaders, comes one day after a sub-committee's hearing at the House of Representatives, focusing on the high cost of insulin.
Patient advocate Gail DeVore testified at the hearing.
"Every day I get emails from people asking:" How can I afford insulin? "" DeVore told the members of the Energy and Trade Subcommittee on monitoring and investigations. "Every day. And every day I have to help them find their way to finding insulin."
DeVore, who has been dependent on insulin for controlling his diabetes for 47 years, says the full retail price of her insulin is $ 1,400 per day. month. She has a good insurance policy, she says, so her costs for that substance are manageable. But her insurance doesn't cover a second, fast-acting insulin, she sometimes needs, so she says she dilutes it to do it anymore.
A recent study by researchers at Yale found that about a quarter of people with diabetes go over doses to save money or use less medication than prescribed.
"Patients who ranted insulin were more likely to have poor control of their blood sugar", dr. Kasia Lipska, an endocrinologist and assistant professor at Yale, testified at the hearing. She said that patients who do not maintain good control of their blood sugar risk getting amputations, blindness and other diabetes complications.
Lipska told lawmakers that the drug companies are raising prices without any apparent reason. She urged the committee members to focus on the list price of the drugs that pharmaceutical companies put in place rather than worry about discounts and discounts.
"The bottom line is that drug prices are set by drug users," she told lawmakers. "The list price for insulin has increased dramatically – and that's the price that many patients pay. This is what should come down. It's as simple as that."
Express Scripts & # 39; program does not, Miller acknowledges.
"This is not the price of the fabric," Miller says. "We think there is a completely different problem, and that is," What is the price of drugs in the United States? "This doesn't add up to that. This really emphasizes the pain patients experience at the counter."
Last month, Eli Lilly & Co. said it would start selling an "authorized generic" version of a of its insulin products at Half retail price.
According to Express Scripts, its $ 25 copay agreement will be available by the end of this year to patients not covered by a state insurance program (such as Medicare or Medicaid).