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August 21, 2023

Trahan details insulin cost savings across district

Photo | Timothy Doyle Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-Lowell) with Gardner Mayor Mike Nicholson in May 2023

Thousands of diabetics in Massachusetts are paying less for their insulin this year, and U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan's office this week detailed exactly how much residents of the Third Congressional District are saving thanks to provisions in two new federal laws.

The Inflation Reduction Act, which was signed a year ago this week, capped the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 per month for people who are covered by Medicare. And the American Rescue Plan Act gave Medicaid a greater ability to limit drug price increases starting in 2024, which Trahan said has led to commitments from manufacturers to cut the cost of insulin by up to 75 percent.

There are about 68,000 people with diabetes living in Trahan's district, including 21,000 who require daily shots of insulin. Of the 68,000 people, 5,300 are Medicare beneficiaries who will save an average of $480 on insulin this year compared to 2020 prices because of the insulin price cap, Trahan said. Savings depend on which medication a beneficiary uses and coverage they have.

"For too long, Big Pharma corporations have hiked the price of this lifesaving medication to pad their profits. But the Inflation Reduction Act is putting affordable prescription drug costs -- and the peace of mind they provide -- within reach of millions of families," Trahan said as her office released a report on the impacts of the IRA one year since it took effect.

There are another 6,200 insulin users who are covered by their employer's insurance and 270 who are uninsured in Trahan's district, and those people "will also experience significant savings" once Eli Lily, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi make good on plans to cut the price of their insulin by as much as 75 percent to avoid increased Medicaid penalties authorized under ARPA, Trahan's office said.

Diabetes is becoming increasingly common across the nation, due to rising rates of obesity and an aging population. From 1999 to 2016, the percentage of adults in the U.S. diagnosed with diabetes grew by 72 percent, with the highest rates of cases found among Indigenous people, African Americans, Hispanics and Asians. In 2022, the Centers for Disease Control found there were approximately 487,100 diabetics in Massachusetts.

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