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People with diabetes see little relief from rising insulin prices

It’s not your imagination — the cost of insulin continues to rise. Axios recently reported the astonishing per-vial prices of the most common insulin brands:

  • Novo Nordisk’s NovoLog: $289
  • Eli Lilly’s Humalog: $275
  • Sanofi’s Lantus: $270

Those three pharmaceutical giants control almost the entire insulin marketplace, which saw about $22 billion in global insulin revenues in 2017, according to Axios.

Though most patients don’t have to pay the full list price, people who lack health insurance or who have high-deductible insurance plans do.

“It’s really one of my greatest fears,” Clayton McCook told Axios. His family has a $3,000 annual deductible before insurance covers insulin and supplies for his 10-year-old daughter.

The worried dad asks: “If insulin is $300 a vial now, what’s it going to look like in 20 years when she’s out on her own?”

Good question. Eli Lilly did not respond to requests for comment for the Axios story. Novo Nordisk and Sanofi said they’d been working on ways to lower insulin costs for years.

Anne Cloward, the fourth generation in her family to suffer diabetes, shared her story with Voices for Affordable Health. How have rising Rx costs affected you? Tell us about your experience.