HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Thousands of Connecticut residents with diabetes are insulin-dependent, and over the past 10 years, insulin prices have gone up an estimated 250%.
Only three drug makers make insulin and efforts in Washington D.C. to address price hikes have not seemed to work. Now, a bi-partisan effort from Connecticut lawmakers is looking to take action and impose cost caps.
Seventh-grader Logan Merwin, 13, of Haddam, has been living with diabetes almost his entire life. He came to the Capitol on Thursday with his mom, Samantha, to help emphasize the heavy burden the skyrocketing cost of insulin is having on what is estimated to be about 10% of the population.
“Since Logan was a baby, (diagnosed at 17 months), until now…we’ve spent thousands of dollars every year in our high deductible plan to keep Logan alive.”– Samantha Merwin
It’s not just the cost of a vial of insulin, it’s the pump device monitor and supplies for it that are needed every month. Logan said he’s concerned that, with the rising price trend, he won’t be able to afford his medical supplies as an adult.
State Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate came together Thursday to support a solution.
The co-chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, Sen. Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) saying, “There’s one really simple idea that we got to get out there; that nobody in Connecticut should die because they can’t afford insulin.”
The ranking Republican member of the committee, Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) adding, “The resulting health care costs that are incurred by an individual who goes without insulin, hurts the entire system.”
The proposal would cap the cost of insulin and necessary supplies at $100 per month. It would allow someone to fill up to three emergency requests for insulin without a prescription. And, establish a new program to help low-income diabetics.
The co-chairs of the committee say they will hold a public hearing on Feb. 25 so more Connecticut residents like Logan and his mom can tell their stories.
State Senate President Pro tem Martin Looney (D-New Haven) said this proposal has been designated as ‘Senate Bill Number One’ for this legislative session and said it is his top priority.
Eli Lilly, the only U.S. maker of insulin, said it offers a variety of options through the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center. The company said its price has not gone up since 2017.