WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Each year 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with Diabetes and, while Type 1 of the disease is not yet curable, it is treatable, the key component is Insulin.
However, many are concerned about sky-rocketing prices of Insulin limiting access to this vital medication.
A bipartisan group of senators led by New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen introduced the “Insulin Price Reduction Act” to Congress on Monday.
If signed into law, this could reduce the cost of insulin by up to 75%.
“A person like Emma or myself, we go through three to four vials a month at least,” Wichita Falls resident Randall Barker said.
For many Americans, their refrigerator’s butter tray is for just that but for others, including Barker and his daughter Emma Barker who both have Type 1 diabetes, theirs is filled with vials of Insulin.
“Type 1 does need Insulin to survive so it essential for them, they need it, their body does not make it,” pharmacist Chris Hobart said.
“To say that I don’t have an extraordinary lifestyle is probably pretty good to say,” Barker said.
One of those reasons is the high cost of Insulin and other components needed to sustain both his and his daughter’s life.
Barker pays more than $3,000 for just a three month supply.
That is for 14 bottles, each costing almost $250.
“There actually three to four deaths in just the past two months of what they call, individuals who do Insulin rationing,” Barker said. “I’m lucky that I have insurance and Emma has insurance but it is a real strain and probably worrisome on the people who do not have insurance,” Barker said.
A group of lawmakers is trying to change the real struggle for so many to pay for Insulin.
From 2012 to 2016, the price of Insulin nearly doubled in the US.
“The cost of insulin charged by the pharmaceutical companies has gone up dramatically without justification, without justification,” Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said.
If this bill is signed into law it would change the way insulin is priced across the country, by reducing incentives for pharmacy benefit managers that keep prices high.
It is just now making its way through the legislative process, as of Monday, It is waiting to be discussed in front of the Senate Committee on Finance.