TYLER, Texas (KETK) — On March 1, one of the top three insulin companies decided to cap its prices for patients. The news is a sigh of relief for some who rely on the medicine daily, but not everyone will benefit.
Skeeter Tucker, who has been diabetic for 10 years was shocked that the insulin prices will be dropped.
“Without my insulin, I wouldn’t make it daily,” said Tucker
90% of users, including Tucker, get their insulin from one of three companies. “Eli Lilly” is one of the main producers and is capping their vial costs at $35.
For 10 years now, Tucker has been taking insulin three times a day.
“The cost has tripled over the last 20 years or so and has continued to increase over 50% over the past five or six years,” said David Davis, pharmacy manager at Drug Emporium.
Tucker is not using an Eli Lilly product but experiences the constant increase every time she orders another vial.
“Well of course it’s always hard on your pocketbook and your monthly expenses but you swallow it and go on because you can’t live without it. I mean it’s something you deal with. You cope with it and go on,” said Tucker.
For decades, prices have kept people with diabetes in a bind.
This will be a 70% drop for three out of 10 Americans with diabetes who are under Eli Lilly.
“$35, that’s would be like in two to three months you would have a vial free because the difference between $85 to $90 versus $35,” said Tucker.
Davis has researched over the years and wonders, why now?
“Why couldn’t this have happened before? If they are able to drop the price and still make money on their insulin,” said Davis.
Davis hopes other commercial pharmacies will follow suit and help patients like Tucker, who are still left paying full price.
“You can spend more in the grocery section than what you have been able to do in the past if you don’t have to spend it on your medicines,” said Tucker.
The company Tucker uses, Novo Nordisk, has a $25 vial available for purchase at Walmart. People who use Novo Nordisk and are at risk of running out of insulin, are given a one-time, 30-day supply.
They have not announced if their company will follow Eli Lilly’s move.