Friday, June 21, 2024

We took on Big Pharma and are lowering the price of insulin

By Colin Allred
U.S. Rep. (TX-32)

Since first taking office in 2019, I have made lowering the price of prescription drugs one of my top priorities. This is especially important for drugs like insulin, which millions of Americans living with diabetes need to stay alive.

My first guest to Washington for a Joint Session of Congress, was a woman named Shane from North Texas. Even though Shane has a good job, she still at times struggles to afford her insulin. Shane’s story is sadly not unique. We know that one in four folks with diabetes rations their insulin due to high costs – which in the United States is unacceptable.
But finally, after years of hard work, we have delivered relief.

Last year I worked to pass the Inflation Reduction Act to hold Big Pharma accountable for raising prices faster than inflation. I am proud to say that with this legislation, we capped monthly insulin costs at $35 for folks on Medicare. Over 125,000 Texans who rely on Medicare for critical insulin stand to save an average of $500 on insulin each year.

 

(Courtesy photo)

And now Eli Lilly, one of the largest insulin manufacturers, is following suit which is great news for the nearly 2.7 million Texans who live with diabetes.

Eli Lilly’s recent announcement to drop insulin prices by over 70% and cap monthly costs at $35 is demonstrative of the progress we have made and of what is to come if we keep working together.

For far too long, Big Pharma has exploited almost all Texans living with diabetes, leaving them with no choice but to pay high costs for insulin which they can’t live without. Eli Lilly’s announcement is a big deal, and will be life-changing for many Texans. But let’s be clear.

This action would not have happened without the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act which capped the cost of insulin on Medicare, and a decades long movement of Americans pressuring Big Pharma to finally lower costs and put people over profits.

Living with diabetes is difficult no matter who you are, but there are countless examples of Black Americans being disproportionately impacted by diabetes due to lack of access to treatment and preventative care. The costs that are associated with insulin and other forms of diabetes care make this illness more than twice as deadly for Black Americans. It’s clear there is still more work to do to extend the savings of the Inflation Reduction Act, including the prices Medicare negotiates, to everyone. I promise to keep working to lower costs.

As the son of a breast cancer survivor, I know first-hand the hardships that working families face when trying to access the health care and medication they need. Nobody should have to choose between buying the medicine they need to live a healthy life or putting food on the table. I am proud of the progress we have made so far in providing North Texans and Americans across the country with increased affordable access to indispensable medications.

As long as I’m in Congress, I’ll keep fighting to lower costs and increase access to affordable health care for every North Texan.

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