WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Ending Pricey Insulin Act to address skyrocketing insulin prices. Three insulin producers control 99 percent of the U.S. market, and the price of the drug tripled between 2002 and 2013 alone.
The Ending Pricey Insulin Act would make the price of insulin more affordable for Louisianians and Americans living with diabetes. Kennedy moved to have the Senate pass the legislation by unanimous consent today, but lawmakers blocked his motion. The Senate could vote on the bill at a later date.
“The free market works wonders when it is truly free, but not when a few drug giants collude to hurt patients. These soaring prices have real consequences for Louisiana’s insulin users. I introduced the Ending Pricey Insulin Act to help give millions of Americans access to this crucial drug, and I hope my fellow lawmakers will help bring a little logic back to the distorted insulin market,” said Kennedy.
The Ending Pricey Insulin Act would cap the out-of-pocket costs of insulin to $50 for a 30-day supply for individuals enrolled in all health plans. The legislation would cover uninsured people as well. Programs covered under the bill include Medicare, Medicaid, high deductible health plans, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, veterans health plans and TriCare plans.
The Ending Pricey Insulin Act also includes a retroactive clause that ensures any out-of-pocket cost above $50 that an individual pays after the bill’s enactment will be reimbursed.
More than 500,000 Louisianians suffer from diabetes, and an estimated 30,000 Louisianians receive a diabetes diagnosis each year. Nationwide, 34 million Americans have diabetes, and more than 7 million depend on insulin.
Some diabetes patients have sued the largest insulin makers, accusing them of charging consumers a higher price than what they charge industry middlemen. In 1996, a one-month supply of Humalog insulin cost $21. By 2019, that price had soared to $275—a 1,200 percent increase.
The Trump administration allowed Medicare Part D drug plans to offer insulin at a $35 copay and also issued an executive order blocking federal funds from going to health centers that over-charge patients for insulin. The Biden administration froze this order.
Text of the Ending Pricey Insulin Act is available here.