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More insulin price caps taking effect in 2024

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Friday, January 5, 2024   

The movement to cap insulin prices for diabetes patients grew larger in the United States this week. Consumer advocates in North Dakota say the news is welcome as state and federal policies evolve to limit skyrocketing costs for the drug.

On Monday, Sanofi became the latest manufacturer to implement insulin price cuts, capping out-of-pocket expenses at $35 a month. That mirrors a federal change adopted in 2022 for Medicare enrollees.

Josh Askvig, AARP North Dakota state director, said mounting pressure from grassroots efforts is sparking change.

"It's clear that consumers have said 'enough,' and there's been work on the advocacy front, including here in North Dakota, to say we're not going to do this anymore," he said.

AARP was one of several groups to push a recent change in North Dakota law that caps insulin prices for state workers.

For its part, Sanofi said the voluntary step to reduce costs adds to other low-price approaches that have been weighed down by structural issues in the health-care system. However, analysts say manufacturers face growing competition from nonprofit ventures and other states pursuing their own insulin production.

Other federal policies kick in this year, requiring drug companies to pay a rebate to the government if their prices rise faster than inflation. As for the outlook in North Dakota, Askvig said more needs to be done.

"We now know Medicare is going to start negotiating prices," he said, "so is there an opportunity to reference Medicare-negotiated prices for state pricing in North Dakota?"

He said that's one of several possibilities to explore when the North Dakota Legislature reconvenes in early 2025.

When it comes to the insulin cost burden, Kaiser Family Foundation reported in 2022 that one in 20 customers - whose costs exceed private insurance caps - paid more than $150 per month to access the medication. Some drug companies have defended higher prices, saying they are the result of research and advances in technology.

Disclosure: AARP North Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Community Issues and Volunteering, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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"I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin," wrote Former President Donald Trump on social media. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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