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Rep. Barragán Releases Congressional Report on Insulin Costs for Los Angeles Residents with Diabetes
By Sentinel News Service
Published May 31, 2019

Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (File Photo)

Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) released a Congressional Report that highlights the high prices of diabetes drugs for seniors and the uninsured in California’s 44th Congressional district.

Findings from the report show that residents in the district pay far more for their insulin than they would in other countries. The report was released during a press conference in San Pedro where constituents shared their personal stories as individuals with diabetes and concerns on the rising costs of insulin.

“For years, the skyrocketing costs of insulin have impacted families living in my district which has the highest rate of diabetes in the entire state of California,” said Rep. Barragán. “Time and again, my constituents have told me they can no longer afford their medication and are resorting to desperate measures like using expired insulin, rationing their care or not taking it all. Sadly, rising costs have made access to affordable insulin far more difficult for people that are low-income, are Medicare Part D beneficiaries or are uninsured. The report only magnifies the urgency for long-term improvements in insulin affordability. Over the last several weeks, my colleagues and I have taken action in Congress to ensure all Americans, especially communities of color, are able to afford their life saving medication.”

Constituents who spoke at the press conference:

  • Tajah Russell, San Pedro Resident (Type-1 Diabetes)
  • Niketa Calame Harris, Wilmington Resident (Type-1 Diabetes)
  • Paola Lopez, STEAM Legacy High School student from South Gate (Type-1 Diabetes)
  • Dr. Jitesh Zala, owner of Lynwood Community Pharmacy in Lynwood

The report found that:

  • There are 17,000 seniors and disabled Medicare beneficiaries in the district that have been diagnosed with diabetes.
  • The costs to Medicare for the top 50 drugs are 4.3 times higher than the costs of the same drugs in Australia. If Medicare had paid what Australia pays for these drugs, the costs to the program in this district would have been about 70 percent lower, saving approximately $6.7 million.
  • There are 87,000 uninsured residents live in the district.
  • Uninsured diabetes patients in the district pay on average $635 for a monthly supply of Novolog Flexpen—a popular insulin brand—as compared to $28 in Australia, $42 in the United Kingdom, and $47 in Canada.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

A livestream of the press conference can be found here.

Categories: Health | News | Safety
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