Rising Insulin Costs: Oklahoma Experts Weigh In

News 9 - February 13, 2023 6:49 am

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The cost of Insulin has increased 600 percent in 20 years. President Joe Biden told Americans he wants to cap insulin at $35 a month for everyone. Oklahoma healthcare experts say there are many factors contributing to the problem.

Some things never change. While others adjust with each passing day.

“Insulin has only been around for 100 years,” Jim Mccarthy said, who is the Chief Executive Officer at Community Health Centers in Tulsa. “It would be hard to make it more expensive.

One insulin vial can cost a person $300 without insurance, for a drug that costs $6 to make.

“If everybody doesn’t have access to primary health care then we are all at risk,” Mccarthy said.

Federally, people on Medicare pay no more than $35. President Biden told the country on Tuesday night no one should pay more than that.

“What, are you going to get money to pay for those medical bills? Are you going to have to sell the house or try to get a second mortgage on it?” Biden said during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.

OU College of Pharmacy Professor Grant Skrepnek says a lot of these proposed changes offer band-aids but fail to solve the problem in the long term.

“It’s challenging. It seems like an easy solution,” Skrepnek said. “It usually is not.”

Skrepnek wants more transparency behind the scenes.

“If we’re going to have some sound policy changes, we need to better understand really what’s going on,” Skrepnek said.

Mccarthy’s health center sells Insulin to patients even cheaper through the 340B prescription drug pricing program.

“15 dollars for a 30-day supply,” Mccarthy said.

CHC can only help so many people.

“We can only sell prescriptions to our own patients,” Mccarthy said.

Everyone pays different prices out of pocket for the same drug. Some people face a price they can’t afford to pay, but also can’t afford to avoid.

Oklahoma has a law that caps insulin costs at $30 for a 30-day supply of insulin. This law only affects state employees or individuals who purchase insurance through an exchange.

 

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