A capped insulin cost gives hope to Lincoln doctors, patients
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The drug insulin can save lives, but its high cost means it’s almost out of reach for thousands who desperately need it.
One pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly, recently capped the price of insulin to $35 a month, significantly reducing monthly costs.
At Complete Endocrinology, a part of the Bryan Health Physician Network, the staff told 10/11 NOW that this is a good sign for folks who need insulin, but even with the cap, it can still be costly for some.
“I actually cried,” said Traci Mellor, Nurse Diabetic Educator. “Very excited knowing that that’s the max you’re going to pay,” Mellor said. “I think that’s the game we play. you never know how much your insulin is going to cost. It can vary month by month, depending on how insurances change their plan.”
Dr. Madeline Jones-Ryan can’t remember life before diabetes. The diagnosis came when she was three. Back then in the 1990s, she said the drug was cheap, but as it got more complex, the price ballooned.
“My mom would say that they would save up to make sure they could get my insulin and then when I was a resident, I married my husband, and we were on our own,” said Dr. Jones-Ryan. “And my first prescription because we had a high-deductible plan was $1,200.”
Dr. Jones-Ryan said she hears of insulin rationing all the time. Heather Sears, a certified medical assistant, said her husband used to do that, hoping to cut corners and balance a budget.
“Hospital stay. DKA in the ICU for three days, and at that time, it was $3,000 a day,” Sears said.
Sears who has two kids with Type 1 diabetes, said she knows all too well what it’s like to grind for a paycheck just to see it all dissolve into a few bottles of medicine. She said the cap is a great step in the right direction, but she hopes the company, and others like it, push even further and drive down the cost until no one has to worry.
Complete Endocrinology staff said they think the price cap will help dozens of their patients and they expect it to bring down prices across the board in the months and years to come.
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