‘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.

© 2024 MMIT
Jinghong Chen

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong has been producing infographics and data stories on employer-sponsored insurance, public health insurance programs and prescription drug coverage for AIS Health’s Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits since 2018. She also manages AIS Health’s annual executive compensation database for top insurers and Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates. Before joining AIS Health, she interned at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting.

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