Insulin: US “generic” prices still double Europe

Lilly has been gouging diabetics for years with regular increases in the price of their Humalog insulin. The company responding to deaths of diabetic patients who couldn’t afford insulin recently released a “generic.” Unfortunately it still priced the medication at twice the price negotiated in European countries.

“But they might well keep these two thoughts in mind: If the product being sold was electricity or gas for your car, a price rise of more than 600 percent over 15 years would be regarded as price gouging and wouldn’t be tolerated. And in Germany and many other developed countries, there is no need for a $137.50 vial of “authorized generic” for Humalog. At around $50 a vial, Humalog as Humalog costs far less.

Medicynical Note: Drug companies learned in the 90’s that sales of vital medications are price insensitive–i.e. desperate people will pay whatever is demanded, and doubly so if most of the cost is covered by insurance. As a result there has been a price inflation in the US (median income about $60,000) such that new cancer drugs are priced at $10,000 or more/month and recently a new anti depressive for post Parton depression is priced at $34,000 for the treatment alone. Which is more than the cost of normal deliveries and most c-sections.

The 600% price increase of Humalog insulin over 15 years may seem less significant than the above numbers because we are talking hundreds rather than thousands of dollars/month. Except that, to live, diabetics take the medication every day for the rest of their lives which may span years to decades depending on when the disease manifested itself. Without it they will die. The recent decrease as reported while a positive development, still leaves the price of the drug much higher than elsewhere.

That Americans pay more for health care and get less in services than anyother country in the world is a very special form of stupidity.

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