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Amid intensifying scrutiny over the cost of insulin, a new analysis finds that total Medicare Part D spending on this diabetes treatment rose 840 percent in the decade between 2007 and 2017, from $1.4 billion to $13.3 billion, thanks to both rising prices and a growing number of patients.

Average spending per person increased by 358 percent between 2007 and 2016, from $862 to $3,949. Aggregate out-of-pocket spending quadrupled from $236 million to $968 million. And among enrollees without low-income subsidies, average per capita out-of-pocket spending on insulin nearly doubled during that period, from $324 to $588, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

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  • Health insurance company Cigna is trying to control skyrocketing insulin cost for a few of its diabetic patients. It is planning to launch a new program next year, which will shells out $25 for their monthly supply of insulin.

  • Why highlight this garbage study? The data analysis excludes rebates in a *very* highly-rebated category. The “research” sheds light only on the biases of the researchers and their sponsor (Guess who?), not on “larger trends.”

    The authors offer two small paragraphs about rebates, but their figures are very, very wrong. The “average” rebate figures vastly underestimate actual rebate rates for insulin. Those rebates have grown dramatically over the period of study, which is why net (post-rebate) insulin prices have been flat/down. A small disclaimer doesn’t overcome the numerous breathless color charts.

    For shame, Ed.

    • Hi Adam
      Thanks for the note and I understand your points.
      Yes, the study does have the disclaimer about rebates, and the story does note the net price effect, at least for Lilly, since the company recently disclosed some data.
      If nothing else, the study underscores the ongoing need for the actual data so we can understand the real costs.
      ed at pharmalot

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