Local diabetic community reacts to news of $35 insulin cap

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 5:57 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - While millions of Americans living with diabetes breathe a sigh of relief, as one of the largest drug-makers of insulin announces price cuts, several stateliners hope it’s just the first step toward minimizing the cost of living as a diabetic.

“I see first hand how it can affect families,” said Rockford Cosmopolitan’s Former President Rick Swansbro. “It can be devastating.”

When Jeremy Bridge got his diabetes diagnosis five years ago, he knew it came at a high cost.

“I lost a bunch of weight and started having to go the bathroom in the middle of the night, which never happens,” said Bridge. “We tried doing things like slow release insulin at night, and it just wasn’t working.”

Aside from the mental cost, which includes keeping a 24 hour watch on his blood sugar with finger pricks and injections, it also involves a hefty price tag. Bridge says he’s fortunate because his health insurance makes his treatment bills lower than others.

“I do almost three vials a month, but i think the MSRP on mine was $1,100 a month,” said Bridge. That still equals nearly $3,500 for insulin; a drug that millions of diabetics rely on. That’s why Tuesday’s announcement by drug-maker Eli Lily, was vital to all who struggle with the condition.

“Lilly’s going to buy down all of our customers out of pocket cost to $35 at the pharmacy counter automatically,” said Eli Lilly CEO & Chairman David Ricks.

The insulin price cap drops the cost nearly 70%. Bridge says it’s a win, but should be just a first step.

“To me yes, the starting point is reducing cost on the insulin itself,” said Bridge. “However to really provide the benefits, the technology needs to reduce.”

He uses an insulin pump that can cost about $10,000. Bridge calls it a saving grace, but thinks it’s steep price is a problem as well.

“I think the focus now should be on trying to drive down price of technology,” said Bridge.