According to data collected by Statista, half of the global supply of diabetes drugs is sold by the US, but 1.3 million people with diabetes are forced to skip, delay, or minimise their insulin intake.
The second-largest producer of diabetic medications in the world, Eli Lilly, was among the companies last week that were deceived by fake-but-verified Twitter accounts.
In the company’s name, a “verified” account with the handle @EliLillyandCo tweeted on November 10: “We are excited to announce insulin is free now,” which received a large number of likes and retweets.
When the tweet was eventually reported and taken down, the harm was already done: the following day, Eli Lilly’s stock price fell more than 4%, wiping out billions in market capitalization. Instantaneously, the topic of insulin pricing was back on the table.
However, as Statista notes, insulin is neither free nor inexpensive, particularly in the United States, where 1.3 million people with diabetes were forced to skip, delay, or minimise their insulin intake at some point in 2021 in order to save money.
According to a study that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, insulin rationing was more common among Black Americans than white or Hispanic Americans (16%) and among Black Americans (23%) (compared to 16%). While the President Biden-signed Inflation Reduction Act will partially solve the issue by restricting the monthly cost of insulin for Medicare elderly at $35 starting on January 1, millions of Americans who lack insurance or have private health insurance will continue to grapple with sky-high insulin prices.
The U.S. is by far the largest market for diabetes medicines, accounting for about half of the global revenue from sales of insulin and other anti-diabetic medications, as shown in the following graphic based on projections from Statista’s Health Market Outlook.
According to a 2020 RAND Corporation study (pdf below), this is mostly because American insulin costs are significantly higher than those in other countries.
Read the study given below: