Diabetes drugs cost 23 times more in U.S. than Australia, report finds

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Monday, April 1, 2019
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A new report found uninsured Americans pay as much as 23 times more for certain diabetes drugs than they would in Australia and 14 times more than patients pay in Canada.

Nine-year-old Garrett Meyer and 10-year-old Jackson Blair live with Type 1 Diabetes.

It's a manageable disease with an increasingly unmanageable cost.

Garrett's mother, Aimee Meyer, said, "Insulin, $305. A Glucagon pen, in case of an emergency, $580. This is what diabetics pay."

Yvette Llerena, Jackson Blair's grandmother said, "Diabetics who struggle to afford insulin sometimes ration their supply."

Llerena laments the rising costs of a single vial of insulin.

She said, "Lantus, which is another medication rose from from $35 to $300 to $350."

A new report by the House Committee on Oversight Government Reform found uninsured Americans pay as much as 23 times more for certain diabetes drugs than they would in Australia.

And 14 times more than patients in Canada.

Even with insurance, the Meyer family of Temple City pays $1,000 a month out of pocket.

"Having her think that she has to go to Mexico and Canada just to get a regular price is for each her insulin, I cannot believe that Americans are being put in this situation," said Congresswoman Judy Chu, a Democrat who represents California's 27th District

In front of an audience of constituents at the Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, Chu discussed her plans to create a proposal to increase transparency in drug pricing.

"We can change these rules," she said, "We can make things better."

Besides increasing the number of generic drugs, another solution Chu suggests is having Medicare negotiate prices directly with drug companies.

"Let us negotiate directly for Medicare drugs like we do with the Veterans Administration," Chu said, "If the Veterans Administration can do it, why can't we?"

At the event, people with mental health issues who take numerous medications, came forward to express their concerns about the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Chu said, "If the ACA gets thrown out, you will see millions of Americans; 20 million Americans lose their health insurance and they will have to pay out-of-pocket."


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