In part 4 of this Exclusive Interview, Nancy D’Hondt talks with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed about the need to look into the cost of insulin and how to save money for the people with diabetes who need it.
Nancy J. D’Hondt RPh, CDE, FAADE is an ICU pharmacist in the St. John Health System in Detroit.
Transcript of this video segment:
Freed: Changing the story a little bit, one of the issues we have is the cost of insulin. What do you think or why do you think insulin is so expensive? Because we know it doesn’t cost anywhere near what they’re billing for insulin. I keep telling patients to go to Walmart and get the regular insulin, and it’s 25 bucks and you don’t have to spend that kind of money.
D’Hondt: It’s true. It’s true. And I think that as we moved away from NPH and regular insulin and got into these new longer acting more physiologic insulins, the prices went up. The problem is that they made them not affordable for anyone. I think that, I don’t think you can point a finger at one person. I think it goes all the way up the chain. I wish we could do a tracer on a drug where someone would purchase it and you could track it back through the warehouses, through the PBMs to find out where the biggest price jumps are and who’s adding the most amount in that cost factor to the ultimate buyer at the counter. And you have to wonder, are we pushing people back into NNR? They’re very effective as you know, you can get good outcomes with NNR. Is there a bigger risk for hypoglycemia? Likely, yes. Are there patient populations that shouldn’t use it? But we should be looking at how do we make the most effective medications available to anyone who needs them and they should be affordable. No one should have to give up food or the ability to live comfortably in a house with heat because they have to worry about insulin.
Freed: So, what do you think we should do about it? I mean, what can we do about it?
D’Hondt: I think that’s where the government has to properly step in and do a tracer and find out where it is — where this rises. And I think that they have done that. They have an initiative now through the President’s initiative to look at insulin pricing. And I’m hoping that we can all work together; the organizations, the providers, the manufacturers of insulin, the PBMs and identify ways to save money on the ultimate buyer at the end of the line. Nobody should be denied from a lifesaving drug, ever.