Monday, July 24, 2017

Insulin Has Been Available to Treat Diabetes for Almost 100 Years – It Should Be Inexpensive

But It’s Not – Because the U. S. Puts Drug Company Profits Ahead of Patient Health

Almost a century ago prescription Insulin was made available to treat diabetes.  And the people who discovered and patented the drug were pretty civic minded

When the drug was discovered in 1921, the original patent was sold to the University of Toronto for $1 so that no one else could patent it and “secure a profitable monopoly.”

So what has happened to change things?  Well new versions are now available and patented and the cost, well given the monopoly power of drug companies what do you expect?

Numerous improvements later, insulin is produced by a three-company oligopoly. When the first of the newer insulin “analogs,” Humalog, hit the market in 1996, it sold for $21 a vial. Today, vials of analog insulins, including Humalog, sell for about $300 . Patients with Type 1 diabetes typically require two or three vials of insulin per month, but patients who are more resistant to insulin, such as those with Type 2 diabetes, may require six or more.  

Well surely insurance and Medicaid and other types of protection exist.  Well, sort of, but a lot of complicated rules prevail to raise the costs.  The results according to the physician who authored the article, again what you would expect.

Because insulin is so expensive, some people take less than their prescribed dose, causing higher blood sugars, which may lead to preventable, very expensive complications such as kidney failure, blindness, amputation, heart attacks or even death.

Why can’t something be done?  Well in this nation we have profit making drug companies and nothing can interfere with their right to do so, not even patient lives.  Sooner or later America will have to make a decision, regulate drug prices and drug company profits or let people die.  Looking at the Republican health legislation we know which way they want to go.

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