Make Insulin Affordable: An update from William T. Cefalu

“I am a single mom with type 1 diabetes. Sometimes I have to choose between paying for my insulin and feeding my son. No one should have to make a choice like that.” –E.R., Oklahoma

We hear far too many stories like this, of people with diabetes who are forced to choose between buying the insulin they need to survive and affording necessities to care for their families. This is unacceptable, and that is why the American Diabetes Association has taken a stand to find solutions to ensure insulin is affordable for all who need it.

For millions of people living with diabetes, including all individuals with type 1 diabetes, access to insulin is a matter of life and death. Insulin is not a luxury; however, the average price of this lifesaving medication has skyrocketed in recent years, nearly tripling between 2002 and 2013. Today marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of our Make Insulin Affordable campaign, which calls for all entities in the insulin supply chain—including manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacy benefit managers, insurers, and pharmacies— to be transparent about the pricing process. Increasing transparency in this process is the first step to identifying viable, long-term solutions. We are also calling on everyone involved in the insulin supply chain to guarantee that no person with diabetes is denied affordable access to insulin.

In the year since our campaign launched, we have held more than 200 Congressional meetings with our diabetes advocates; collected more than 600 patient, caregiver and provider stories; and had 260,000 people sign our Make Insulin Affordable petition, which was delivered to the co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus in March. We have also convened an Insulin Access and Affordability Working Group that has met with stakeholders at all levels of the supply chain, as well as with leaders in Congress, in an effort to understand the underlying causes that have led to the surge in insulin prices, and we are working together to propose solutions.

In 2018, we hope to share the knowledge we have gained about the insulin supply process and our recommendations for lowering the cost of insulin.

We continue to raise our collective voices to make sure that everyone who needs lifesaving insulin has access to it, and we hope that you will join us on this one-year anniversary to help us reach 300,000 signatures on our Make Insulin Affordable petition by the end of 2017. You can sign and share our petition at MakeInsulinAffordable.org. Together we can make sure insulin is affordable for all who need it.

–William T. Cefalu, MD, Chief Scientific, Medical and Mission Officer

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