The retail giant Walmart has announced that it will offer insulin at an affordable price for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to pay for it. Tracey D. Brown, CEO of the American Diabetes Association, joined us to discuss what this means for insulin users and the future of the fight against diabetes.
Brown said that insulin is one of the highest-costing consumer pharmaceuticals on the market and that Walmart’s new affordable option is a big deal.
“I’ll tell you that people living with diabetes are making choices between buying the life-saving drugs that they need, versus food on their table, houses over their heads…” Brown said.
She said that of the 34-some million Americans who live with diabetes, over 8 million of them require insulin. That requirement is still out of reach for the majority of people who need it due to its high price.
Through the program, an insulin vial will cost about $72.88. The over-the-counter cost of the drug is over double that price.
“For the person living with diabetes, their expenses are about two-and-a-half times those without diabetes,” the CEO said. This makes even the smallest amount of savings add up quickly for those who live with the diagnosis.
“This is a huge step into making insulin affordable for the millions of people who need it.”
Brown said that over the last three or four years especially, the average cost of insulin has skyrocketed. She explained the system is a complex one, with many different moving parts such as the drug manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. With an intricacy such as that, it can be difficult to pin the cost increases to one specific thing.