At a press conference in front of Garfield Medical Center, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the findings from a new report by the House Committee on Oversight Government Reform that found the estimated 43,000 uninsured individuals in California’s 27th Congressional district who use Novolog Flexpen – a popular brand of insulin – pay 23 times more than they would in Australia, 16 times more than they would in the United Kingdom, and 14 times more than they would in Canada. That means that an uninsured diabetes patient in the San Gabriel Valley would pay an average of $655 for a monthly supply of Novolog Flexpen as compared to $28 in Australia. And for the 17,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district with diabetes, the cost for insulin is as much as 4.3 times greater, costing Medicare millions of dollars in increased drug costs. Rep. Judy Chu, who represents the 27th Congressional District, released the following statement:
“This is a significant report that gives us the data we need to confirm what millions of Americans struggling to get by already know: Americans are being gouged by drug companies and a broken healthcare system. Diabetes is a relatively common but serious disease. Fortunately, treatment and management of this disease is possible for as little as $7 a month, according to at least one study. Instead, uninsured individuals in my district are paying about $650 more than that. The availability of these same drugs at radically lower prices in similar countries abroad is proof that treating diabetes can be done affordably. But drug manufacturers in America have gotten away with raising prices on Americans.
“That is why House Democrats are working on solutions. Already, the House Ways and Means Committee, of which I’m a member, has held multiple hearings on this issue where I have pushed for answers on why drug manufacturers spend 70% more on advertising than they do on research and development. I am also working on legislative proposals to increase transparency in drug pricing so Americans can understand why they are being charged so much more, and where these high prices are coming from. Transparency is critical, but we can also do more like allowing Medicare to negotiate with manufacturers and increasing availability of generics.
“What’s worse is that President Trump is actively exacerbating this problem with this support for striking down the entire Affordable Care Act. If his legal challenge to the law is successful, it will result in even more uninsured Americans being forced to pay high drug prices out of pocket, while also increasing costs across the board. This heartless effort to use the courts to strike down all of the ACA without any plan for the 130 million Americans with a pre-existing condition, like diabetes, is wrong and dangerous. Democrats are committed to ensuring that all Americans have access to quality and affordable health care.”
The full report can be found online here.