Last week, Representative Val Demings released a new report on diabetes medication prices in Florida’s 10th District. The report was commissioned by Rep. Demings and prepared by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The report shows that because Medicare is not allowed to negotiate drug prices, the costs to Medicare are nearly four times higher than in the United Kingdom, five times higher than in Australia, and three times higher than in Canada. For uninsured patients, the costs can be as much as 21 times higher.
“Dr. King said that of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane,” said Rep. Demings. “Let’s make this clear: access to health care is a matter of life and death. It is inexcusable that American families are dying for the sake of corporate profit. I am working in Congress to bring down costs for all Americans. Families should never have to worry that one illness or accident will mean bankruptcy or a lifetime without coverage.”
In terms of costs to seniors and Medicare, the report estimates that there are approximately 17,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who have been diagnosed with diabetes. According to the executive summary: “The 50 most popular brand-name diabetes medications used by these beneficiaries are available at significantly lower prices in other countries. For example, the cost of these drugs to the Medicare program in the district are 4.8 times the cost in Australia, 3.6 times the cost in the United Kingdom, and 2.8 times the cost in Canada.”
In terms of costs to uninsured patients, the report estimates that there are 125,000 uninsured residents in the district. According to the executive summary: “These patients often bear the entire burden of their high prescription drug prices and pay significantly more than patients pay overseas for the same drugs. This report finds that uninsured diabetes patients in the district who purchase Novolog Flexpen—a popular brand of insulin—pay on average 21 times more than they would in Australia, 14 times more than they would in the United Kingdom, and 12 times more than they would in Canada.”
The full report is available here.
On the same day of the report’s release, Rep. Demings toured True Health and held a roundtable discussion with patients, health care professionals, and industry experts. The discussion focused on the devastating consequences of overturning the Affordable Care Act, and the work of House Democrats to address the soaring costs of prescription drugs.
“This new report shows that like so many other medications, insulin in Central Florida is vastly more expensive than it is in other countries,” said Rep. Demings. “Americans should not have to pay five to twenty times more for their medication than people in Australia or Canada. I support efforts to allow Medicare to negotiate prices, like the VA, and to bring more generics to market. The Trump Administration is dead wrong in its lawsuit to strip healthcare from millions of Americans by ending the Affordable Care Act, which will cause immediate harm to older Americans, and increase out-of-pocket costs for families. Protections for patients with pre-existing conditions are not negotiable.”