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NEWS: Chairman Sanders Releases Digital Short Featuring Insulin Patients

Video Comes the Day Before Senate HELP Committee Hearing with CEOs of Insulin Makers and Leaders of PBMs

WASHINGTON, May 9 – Ahead of a major Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing that will bring together CEOs of major insulin manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the committee, today released a digital short featuring Americans who rely on insulin.

“I use about seven vials every three months and the price of that is $2,267.99,” Laura Marston said during a roundtable discussion with the senator. “I’m about to turn 41 next week. I’ve used the same insulin since I was 14. Nothing has changed about it and I remember my mother buying my first vial for $20.”

InsulinPlay (1)

In 1923, the inventors of insulin sold their patent for $1 to save lives, not to make pharmaceutical executives extremely wealthy. While researchers estimate a vial of insulin costs just $8 to manufacture, the price has gone up by over 1,000 percent since 1996. Sanofi’s Lantus costs $292 per vial. Novo Nordisk’s Novolog is listed at $289. Eli Lilly’s Humalog can be purchased for $275. People with diabetes face nearly $17,000 per year in medical expenses, more than half of which is directly attributable to their diabetes. In the U.S., health care for people with diabetes accounts for one in four health care dollars.

In addition to Marston, the short also features Hannah Crabtree, Kylene Dyana, Ted Malpass, and Nicole Smith-Holt.

The HELP Committee on Wednesday will hear from the CEOs from the major insulin manufacturers, Eli Lilly and Company, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi – which make up 90 percent of the insulin market in the U.S. – and top executives from the major pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) of CVS Health, Express Scripts, and OptumRx.

To watch the short, click here.