Jesimya David Scherer-Radcliffe, 21, passed away just a month after the loss of his health insurance forced him to begin rationing insulin to treat his diabetes. However, Scherer-Radcliff’s death is not the only of its kind, with insulin prices doubling from 2012 to 2016 causing many individuals to ration the drug.
Why have insulin prices grown exponentially over the past few years? There is no single reason, other than the privatization of America’s health care system which has allowed this practice to become standard. Many experts place the blame on large pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) like CVS Health. PBMs regularly work with pharmaceutical companies in an effort to reduce the costs of various prescriptions through health insurance, but this reduced cost can result in higher out-of-pocket expenses for those without health insurance.
“Every time a PBM extracts a deeper discount, an insulin manufacturer has the incentive to take a price increase to quote ‘make themselves whole,’” stated Rena Conti, a health economist.