Janet Cruz is backing legislation that would lower the cost of insulin for some Florida diabetics. The Tampa Senator filed a bill (SB 116) Wednesday to place a limit on how much health insurance providers could charge patients for the drug through cost sharing.
The bill would limit costs for patients to $100 for a 30-day supply of insulin regardless of how much or what type of the drug was needed.
The bill comes as states nationwide grapple with how to tackle the soaring cost of prescription medications, including insulin.
Insulin is the drug used to control blood sugar in diabetic patients.
The problem is plaguing the U.S.
A 2018 T1 International patient survey of nearly 1,500 patients from 90 countries found that 18 percent of all respondents had at some point in the previous 12-months rationed their insulin due to cost. That same survey found that among United States patients, nearly 26 percent had rationed the drug, highlighting the disparity of prescription medication affordability in the United States compared with other countries.
Further, the survey found that in high-income countries other than the U.S., only 6.5 percent had rationed medicine.
Left unchecked, the problem is deadly.
And it’s not always just people rationing their insulin. In some cases patients are purchasing cheaper over the counter medication to try to manage diabetes. While that’s effective in some patients, it’s not always.
The Washington Post reported last week about a man who died after using a less effective over-the-counter drug instead of the more appropriate prescription. Josh Wilkerson aged out of his parents health insurance plan and shifted to an individual policy through his employer that covered far less.
Under that plan he couldn’t afford his regular insulin and started buying the over-the-counter version from Walmart for $25 a vial — a tenth the cost of the regular medicine.
About a year later he was dead.
Cruz’s bill does not yet have a House companion.