Sen. Durbin Co-Sponsors Bill To Help Lower Cost Of Insulin

Craig Dellimore
July 16, 2019 - 7:58 am
Senator Dick Durbin

WBBM Newsradio/Craig Dellimore


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Senator Dick Durbin is co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation to help lower the cost of insulin, a drug used to treat diabetes.

Senator Durbin discussed Monday the Affordable Insulin Approvals Now Act, a bipartisan bill to speed up approvals of lower-cost, generic, and “follow-on” insulin products in order to help lower costs of the life-saving drug.  

Approximately 7.5 million Americans with diabetes rely on insulin every day to survive, yet the drug has experienced a price increase of more than 600 percent over the past two decades in the United States.

Senator Dick Durbin said he, Republican Senator Kevin Kramer of North Dakota, and Democratic Senator Tine Smith of Minnesota are among those introducing the bill to "lower the price of insulin by promoting competition and bringing lower-cost generic products to market sooner—specifically by requiring FDA to continue reviewing generic insulin applications even after the agency’s currently planned March 2020 cut-off date."

Some patients with Type 1 Diabetes said the blood sugar controlling drug Insulin is like oxygen to them. They need it to survive. 

“Last week in Washington, DC, I met with a group of four inspiring young people from Illinois living with Type 1 Diabetes, who rely on insulin every single day to manage their blood sugar levels. Their mothers told me that insulin is so expensive that they can hit their $8,000 annual deductible by March,” Durbin said in a statement. “America’s insulin pricing scandal is a disgrace.  Basic insulin was first discovered nearly a century ago, yet Big Pharma’s price gouging is driving families and children to extraordinarily dangerous lengths – like rationing supplies – in order to afford a medication they need to survive.  If we can create a faster path for FDA approval of generic insulin, we can finally help to lower costs and tell Big Pharma enough is enough.” 

Pharmaceutical companies have previously, and successfully, lobbied hard to block legislation that could lower the price of greatly needed drugs. What will make this attempt different?

"What I think we have going for us is a President who said he wants to lower prescription drug costs and in this case, Republican senators who are actually stepping up and joining me in this effort," he said.

Thirty million Americans are living with type I or II diabetes. Approximately 7.5 million of them rely on insulin to manage their blood sugar levels, and it is essential to their survival; but Senator Dick Durbin said the price of Insulin has skyrocketed in this country - for example, in the U.S. a vial costs $372, but only $65 dollars in Canada.