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Dennis Keene: We must address the skyrocketing cost of insulin; diabetic patients are at risk

The high cost of insulin was a hot topic during a recent Banking and Insurance Interim Committee meeting this summer.

We heard testimony from diabetic patients as well as representatives of the Volunteer Leadership Council on National Diabetes.

The bottom line is that the cost of life-saving insulin has skyrocketed to nearly $300 per vial, rendering it unaffordable for many patients.

Dennis Keene

In less than a decade, co-pays for insulin have gone from $35 per month to over $400. Major insulin-producing pharmaceutical companies have raised the price of insulin at least ten times since 2008. Uninsured, underinsured and those with high deductibles are bearing the expensive cost of insulin which is causing serious consequences.

The rate of diabetes is on the rise and impacts a significant number of children. We heard testimony from a 48-year-old social worker who can no longer afford her insulin, so she began diluting the dosage, rationing it to make her supply of insulin last longer. She did this for years and as a result, medical complications have caused neuropathy and Charcot. She suffered a leg amputation as a direct result of inadequate insulin medication.

More than 15% of adults (500,000) in Kentucky have diabetes and the numbers are increasing. Diabetic patients have come to the General Assembly several times to ask for drug price transparency legislation and to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable.

This summer Attorney General Beshear filed a lawsuit against the major manufacturers of insulin. His lawsuit alleges that the corporations have “greedily increased their product’s prices over the last 20 years.”

Families are resorting to illegally ordering and purchasing insulin across our borders where the cost is ten times cheaper.

When the General Assembly convenes in January 2020, I look forward to introducing legislation that will address the insulin crisis.

Rep. Dennis Keene serves on the House Licensing, Occupations & Administrative Regulations Committee, Banking & Insurance, Natural Resources & Energy along with the Appropriations & Revenue Committees. He has served the citizens of the 67th District (Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Silver Grove, Melbourne, Highland Heights, Southgate, and Wilder) in Campbell County since 2005. Keene is an economic development advisor for EGC Construction. For more information, visit www.DennisKeene.com.

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One Comment

  1. Robert Reny says:

    Novo Nordisk is offering an affordable insulin plan. Just by enrolling on their site NovoCare.com you will receive an online card that can be downloaded and printed, saved to a phone, or emailed to a valid email address. This card can be redeemed with a prescription at the pharmacy where you buy your insulin. My$99Insulin is available to all eligible patients with or without insurance.

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