Insulin prices driving rapid increase in diabetes spending

Healthcare spending is rapidly increasing for individuals with Type 1 diabetes, a change that is being fueled by insulin prices, according to a report from Health Care Cost Institute.

The institute analyzed healthcare claims data from 2012-16 to investigate how spending on healthcare for individuals with Type 1 diabetes changed within that time frame. What researchers found is that spending on insulin doubled within that period.

The average annual cost of managing Type 1 diabetes for a patient with employer-sponsored insurance grew to almost $18,500 in 2016, a change primarily driven by insulin spending. Forty-seven percent of the $6,000 increase since 2012 reflected the rising cost of insulin.

While insulin use only rose about 3 percent within the period, the median price increase from 2012-15 was 92 percent. HCCI studied every insulin product on the market within the time frame for its report.

"We are frequently told that high drug prices are justifiable in order to promote innovative new cures, but the cost of insulin — a long-standing therapy that 1.25 million Americans with Type 1 diabetes rely on to live — has nearly doubled in the last five years, despite very little change in the underlying product, Niall Brennan, CEO of HCCI, said in a press release sent to Becker's Hospital Review.

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