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Patients, pharmacists feel relief with insulin prices lowered to $35

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Posted at 5:11 PM, Jan 05, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Three major insulin manufacturers have lowered the cost of insulin to $35 for many patients.

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Sanofi, Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, the three biggest insulin companies, each announced this price cut in 2023.

The new price went into effect on January 1st.

For years, patients and members of the medical community have watched insulin prices skyrocket. According to the American Diabetes Association, spending on insulin has tripled over the last ten years to $22.3 billion as of 2022.

Patients and pharmacists in the area are relieved by the price drop.

Pharmacy of Grace is a non-profit that helps people who are under insured or uninsured afford their medication.

Ralph Richardson has Type 1 diabetes and relies on his insulin.

"My situation, if I get mixed up or don't take the right stuff, I pass out," he said.

He's enrolled in Medicare, which opens the door for other forms of relief. The Medicare Part D plan went into effect in 2023, which said that senior citizens and others enrolled in Medicare wouldn't pay more than $35 a month for insulin prescriptions.

"Even though it's life savings, they're making a decision on do I pay the electric bill, do I get food, or do I have insulin instead of feeding my family for the next month," Michael Fink, Pharmacy of Grace pharmacist in charge.

He said he's spent much of his education and career watching insulin prices climb.

"Just a huge, traumatic change in the cost for patients," he said. "It's harder to obtain the insulin."

For Ralph Richardson, insulin is part of his life.

And for Michael Fink, he hopes relief is part of his job.

"I've actually had patients walk out the door crying when we've given them their insulin that they're now able to take it home," Fink said. "Instead of not being able to afford it and just refusing it at the counter."

The American Diabetes Association reports that at least 8.4 million Americans rely on insulin to live.