Diabetes drug costs

083115_diabetescost_THUMB_LARGEKEY TAKEAWAY: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people living with diabetes has quadrupled since 1980, growing to more than 400 million. And with this rise in disease, sales of diabetes-related products have also climbed. In fact, in 2015, American consumers spent $592 million on such products.[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]The cost of diabetes drugs rose 150 percent for six popular, brand-name diabetes drugs[/inlinetweet] in the past five years. Two of these drugs rose in price more than 250 percent.

According to a recent report by federal health officials, prescription-drug spending rose 12.6% in 2014, the latest year for which data are available, and it is expected to rise 7.3% a year through 2018.  In addition, we have seen a rapid rise in the number of patients facing high deductibles for medicines—doubling in just the past three years. For patients with a combined deductible of $2,000, they are faced with paying on average of 46% of their pharmacy costs out of pocket compared with just 28% of their hospital costs.

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When it comes to diabetes, however, the rising costs could have an effect on all of us.  Almost half, 49%, of Type 2 diabetes patients say cost is a major burden and 45% have said that their medication costs have increased over the past year.  Is there any doubt that diabetes patients who don’t take their medications are going to cost our healthcare system more?

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The argument that the prices of drugs don’t reflect “wholesale prices” is pure BS.  The drug companies see a way to make more money as more and more people are getting Type 2 diabetes.

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It’s time for the drug companies to unite and put forth a program where patients who need diabetes drugs, and can’t get them because of cost, will get them either a greatly reduced cost or for free.  The drug industry likes to say they are patient focused, well now is the time to as words mean nothing without action.

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