Reed, Whitehouse, Cicilline Celebrate Victories to Lower Rx Drug Costs and Raise Awareness for New $35-Monthly Cap on Insulin for RI Seniors
Democrats’ historic Inflation Reduction Act put $35 per month cap in place for seniors on Medicare Part D and includes new rules kicking in next year that penalize drug makers for raising prices faster than inflation. Pressure from new law incentivized top drug companies who want to continue participating in Medicare to begin lowering insulin prices for all
Cumberland, RI – In a major win for millions of diabetic Americans who need insulin to live and have been paying inflated prices for years, French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi – one of the top three insulin manufacturers for the U.S. – announced it will follow suit with its two major competitors by slashing the list price for its most prescribed insulin product by 78 percent.
In agreeing to expand the capping of insulin prices at $35 per month for uninsured people and those with private insurance, Sanofi joins Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, who also agreed to major price cuts. Together, Sanofi, Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk control approximately 90 percent of the U.S. insulin market.
These private sector price cuts were set in motion by passage of the historic Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed into law last year. It established a $35 per month price cap on insulin for Medicare beneficiaries and includes new penalties against drug makers that unfairly raise prices on consumers.
Today, at the Cumberland Senior Center, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Cicilline gathered to raise awareness about the law, including the $35-monthly cap on out-of-pocket insulin costs that is making the lifesaving medication more affordable for seniors on Medicare.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is a breakthrough victory for all Americans. The substantial price reductions we are seeing for insulin today stem from this law and we are going to keep the pressure on drug companies to lower prices for prescription drugs that millions of Americans depend on. These cost savings for seniors are overdue and should make a positive difference for people on fixed incomes,” said Reed. “The Inflation Reduction Act also empowers Medicare to use the power of bulk purchasing to negotiate lower prescription drug prices to drive down health costs. So seniors can expect to see future savings on other prescription drugs as well.”
“Runaway prices for common prescription drugs like insulin have burdened Rhode Islanders, especially seniors living on fixed incomes, for far too long. But Democrats were able to finally break the grip of Big Pharma and deliver this relief for seniors in our landmark Inflation Reduction Act,” said Whitehouse. “With momentum firmly on our side, I’ll keep pushing until life-saving prescription drugs are more affordable and accessible for all Rhode Islanders.”
“The Inflation Reduction Act is a transformational law that has already started to bring real relief to Rhode Island’s seniors,” said Cicilline. “Capping insulin costs is just the start. I look forward to continue working with my partners in Rhode Island and in DC to build on this success as we deliver the stable, dignified retirement our seniors deserve.”
Nearly 93,000 Rhode Islanders and more than 37 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, a disease in which the body either can’t produce insulin, the hormone needed to control blood sugar levels, or can’t efficiently use insulin. Approximately 8 million Americans rely on insulin to survive.
Reed, Whitehouse, and Cicilline secured the insulin cap for Medicare recipients in the Inflation Reduction Act, which was signed into law by President Biden last August. No Republicans voted for the bill. As of January 1, 2023, Medicare drug plans cannot charge seniors more than $35 for a one-month supply of a Part-D covered insulin product, even if they receive extra help to lower their prescription drug costs. Nearly 5,000 Rhode Island seniors are already benefitting from this cap, and beneficiaries will save an average of $485 each year. A similar cap will take effect for Medicare Part B beneficiaries in July.
“Skyrocketing insulin prices and associated out-of-pocket costs for people with Medicare have forced millions to choose between paying for medicine, groceries, and other necessities,” said Catherine Taylor, AARP State Director. “Capping the out of pocket cost of insulin to $35 a month is a lifesaving development for the more than 1,300 Rhode Islanders living with diabetes.”
Chip Unruh (Reed), (202) 224-4642
Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse), (202) 224-2921
Jennifer Bell (Cicilline), (202) 365-0827
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