U.S. Rep. Angie Craig Introduces Bill to Examine Impacts of Skyrocketing Insulin Prices With House Colleagues Stauber, Phillips and Guest

January 28, 2020
Press Release

Today, U.S. Reps. Angie Craig (MN-02), Pete Stauber (MN-08), Dean Phillips (MN-03) and Michael Guest (MS-03) introduced bipartisan legislation to require an examination of the health and economic impacts of skyrocketing insulin prices. The bipartisan bill would require the government to study and report the scope of the problems created across healthcare by the rise in insulin costs, which are up more than 600% in recent years and have increasingly led to patient rationing of the drug.

Minnesotans are dying because of the real-life impact of the cost of insulin and other life-saving prescription drugs,” said Rep. Craig (MN-02). “I’m proud to lead the effort to examine, for the first time, the broader impacts of insulin price increases on the lives of folks with diabetes so that we can work together to better understand and solve the crisis.”

The bipartisan Insulin Affordability Data Collection Act would direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study rates of diabetic ketoacidosis—which took the life of Minnesotan Alec Smith two years ago after the high cost of insulin forced him to ration his doses. It would also direct HHS investigators to look into how high insulin prices make it more difficult for people with diabetes to adhere to their insulin prescriptions, and to calculate the economic impact on Federal health programs of not adhering to treatment protocol due to affordability issues.

“Too many Minnesotans struggle to pay for the rising costs of lifesaving drugs like insulin, so I believe Members of Congress have a moral responsibility to act,” said Rep. Stauber (MN-08). “Delivering solutions that will actually bring down the cost of insulin requires lawmakers to have an in-depth understanding of this complicated issue, which is why I am proud to help introduce bipartisan legislation that will help address the insulin affordability crisis.”

“The cost of insulin is making it difficult for diabetics in America to manage their disease, leading those who depend on insulin to ration their care, or even worse, go without it altogether. It is our duty in Congress to investigate the problem and do something about it. I salute Rep. Craig for her leadership on this issue and look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure insulin affordability and accessibility,” said Rep. Phillips (MN-02)

“As the cost of insulin continues to rise, it’s important for Members of Congress to investigate the role we can play in addressing the affordability of this life-sustaining drug,” said Rep. Guest (MS-03). “That is why I’m proud to join a bipartisan group of Members of Congress to introduce legislation that would help identify opportunities to address the high costs of insulin.”

The Insulin Affordability Data Collection Act would require the HHS Secretary through the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) to conduct a study that examines the impact of the affordability of insulin on individuals who are insulin-dependent. Specifically, this study will investigate the impact of the affordability of insulin products on:

  • Adherence to insulin prescriptions;
  • Rates of diabetic ketoacidosis;
  • Downstream impacts of insulin adherence (e.g. rates of dialysis treatment and end-stage renal disease);
  • Spending by Medicare, Medicaid, and other Federal health programs on acute care episodes that could be averted by adhering to an insulin prescription; and
  • Other factors, as appropriate.

“More and more deaths from rationing are being reported, and patients are facing other dire consequences because of high prices, like diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This much-needed data collection will provide more evidence of the realities of the insulin price crisis so that people with diabetes can see true, long-term relief,” said Elizabeth Pfeister, Founder and Executive Director of T1 International.

This bill would further separate instances of insulin affordability by an individual’s insurance status. Under this legislation, ASPE would be required to submit this report to Congress within two years of enactment. The bill is supported by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and T1 International.

Last year, Rep. Craig introduced the Emergency Access to Insulin Act with fellow Minnesotan, Rep. Dean Phillips. This bill would increase insulin access for underinsured and uninsured patients, make insulin more affordable, and hold big drug companies accountable for jacking up insulin prices and making other life-saving drugs unaffordable for Minnesota families.