New bill seeks to cap insulin prices in Tennessee

STATE NEWS — Tennessee exists as part of the Diabetes Belt. We enjoy the fifth highest rate of the disease in the U.S. Doctors diagnose 36,000 Tennesseans with diabetes each day. Over 650,000 adults live with the disease in the Volunteer State. That’s nearly 13 percent of all Tennesseans as compared to 10 percent nationally. In Moore County, around 14 percent of the population lives with diabetes.

Many of those patients suffers with Type 1 (or insulin-dependent) diabetes. This means most must take daily injections in order to avoid life-threatening negative health effects. But the cost of the that life-saving drug keeps skyrocketing. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), insulin costs haven risen over 500 percent in the last 14 years. It’s nearly tripled since 2002 and risen as much as 14 percent in just the past five years.

With all of this in mind, on Wednesday State Senator Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis) introduced SB 1718, which caps the price of the 30-day supply of insulin for insured Tennesseans at just $100. To read the complete bill, click here.

So why is the cost of insulin out of control?

Some posit that drug manufactures continue to block a generic with incremental patent changes. Discovered in 1921, the drug’s nearly 100 years old but no generic exists because manufactures keep tweaking the the recipe to extend exclusivity rights.

A secondary reason revolves around America’s complicated healthcare system and a complex supply chain controlled by a system of stakeholders including drug manufacturers, pharmacy benefits managers, pharmacies, health plans, and employers who act as middlemen between patient and doctor.

To let your representative know how you feel, contact Representative Iris Rudder at 615-741-8695 or Senator Shane Reeves at 615-741-1066. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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