‘Broken’ System Drives Insulin Price Spikes, Senate Committee Report Shows

Insulin prices have soared in the past decade due to a “broken” drug pricing system, according to a recent report from the offices of Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) prices of long- and short-acting insulins have increased aggressively without “significant advances in the efficacy of the drugs,” observed the report, which summarized the findings of a two-year investigation led by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. Meanwhile, annual pre-rebate spending on insulin products for the Medicare Part D program grew by billions of dollars between 2010 and 2018. The report found that insulin manufacturers raised their WAC prices so that PBMs can get larger rebates, which are based on a percentage of the list prices. In return, the PBMs offer those drugs favorable placement on their formularies.

© 2021 MMIT

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong produces infographics and data stories on health insurance and specialty pharmacy for AIS Health. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting. Before joining AIS in 2018, she worked at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese.

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