Guthrie presses insurers on rising insulin prices

Published 10:21 am Thursday, December 12, 2019

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From staff reports

Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02), top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, has joined his fellow committee leaders in pressing insurance companies for answers on their role in the rising cost of insulin at the pharmacy counter.
In letters to Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield, CVS Health, Cigna Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, and UnitedHealth Group, Guthrie, full committee Republican leader Greg Walden (OR-02) and Health Subcommittee Republican leader Michael Burgess (TX-26) request information on the relationship between insulin’s list price and its negotiated price and the impact this negotiation process has on the price patients pay.
Guthrie led a two-part committee investigation into the rising costs of insulin earlier this year. Although the list price of many insulin products significantly increased over the past decade, the net price received by manufacturers for many of these insulin products stayed the same or decreased over the same period.
“Unfortunately, even though the average net price that manufacturers are receiving for many insulin products is decreasing and PBMs are working with health plans to help reduce the cost of insulin for health plans, many Americans are facing increased out-of-pocket costs for their insulin at the pharmacy counter,” the leaders continue in their letters. “We are therefore examining the role of insurers in the prescription drug supply chain, including questions about how insurers make decisions about plan design, the use of rebates in the insulin market, and the level of transparency between insurers and their supply chain partners.”
The letters come as energy and commerce Republicans are calling for cooperation from Democrats on bipartisan solutions to lower drug costs for Americans, rather than Speaker Pelosi’s partisan drug pricing bill that will result in fewer cures. Congressman Guthrie is a cosponsor of the Lower Costs, More Cures Act (H.R. 19) that will lower drug prices without limiting access to lifesaving cures.

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