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Walden presses insurers on rising insulin prices

WASHINGTON (KTVZ) --Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Rep. Michael Burgess (TX) are pressing top insurance companies for answers as to their role in the rising cost of insulin.

In letters last week to Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield, CVS Health, Cigna Corporation, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealth Group, Walden and Burgess requested information on the relationship between insulin's list price and its negotiated price and the impact this negotiation process has on patients.

“We are continuing to investigate the rising costs of health care across numerous services and products, including, but not limited to, spending on hospitals, physicians, and prescription drugs. As part of this work, we have focused on the increasing price of insulin for patients with diabetes,” Walden and Burgess wrote.

In addition to the letter, Walden introduced the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, bipartisan legislation to lower costs at the drug counter for patients and seniors, including provisions specifically designed to make insulin more affordable.

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,” Walden and Burgess continued in their letter. “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."

Click here to read the letters.

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