House Democrats are probing the three main insulin manufacturers in the U.S. over "skyrocketing costs."
Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi received questions about their pricing strategies from Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneLawmakers discussing potential compromise to revive drug pricing measure House Democrats announce bill to rein in tech algorithms House Democrats ramp up probe of FDA approval of Alzheimer's drug MORE (D-N.J.), chairman of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteNebraska Republican tests positive for COVID-19 in latest congressional breakthrough case The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Voting rights week for Democrats (again) Maryland Democrat announces positive COVID-19 test MORE (D-Colo.), chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Pallone and DeGette said they worry about diabetics rationing their insulin because they can't afford to buy more.
“When patients go without insulin—or ration their doses—there can be tragic consequences,” they said in a letter to the drug manufacturers.
"As one of the few manufacturers of insulin in the United States, your company is well-suited to shed light on these issues and offer potential solutions.”
They're asking for a range of documents and information from the companies, including their average price for insulin products for the past 10 years, and explanations for increases; the net profits of the companies' insulin products for the past 10 years; and a list of changes made to their insulin products.
Pallone and DeGette questioned why insulin prices have increased in recent years, despite the lack of significant advances in the formula.
They say the price of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013, and nearly doubled between 2012 and 2016
They're also asking whether the companies have entered into any agreements in the last 10 years that delay, limit or prevent the availability of generic insulin on the market.
The issue of high drug prices has the potential to prompt bipartisan action in Congress.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleySmall ranchers say Biden letting them get squeezed These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Hillicon Valley — Senate panel advances major antitrust bill MORE (R-Iowa) said Wednesday during a hearing on drug prices that he wants to investigate spikes in insulin costs.
“I have heard stories about people reducing their life-saving medicines, like insulin, to save money,” Grassley said.
“This is unacceptable and I intend to specifically get to the bottom of the insulin price increase.”