Insulin is the major drug used by people to deal with diabetes and given the prevalence of the disease, it is very profitable for the drug companies that manufacture them. Many companies do and so one would think that competition among them for market share would lead to price benefits for consumers. And yet, the prices are so high in the US that people in need of the drugs organize trips to Canada where they can some of buy them for one-tenth the price.
Kevin Drum analyzes the way the companies have raised prices in the US seemingly in lockstep for all manner of insulin products and says that a government investigation of price fixing is long overdue.
U500 is a highly concentrated form of insulin for insulin-resistant patients. Between 2010-2014, it suddenly skyrocked in price from $12 to $59. That’s a 400 percent increase in five years.
There are multiple suppliers of insulin, but as you can see from the top chart, they all increased their prices in lockstep. There appears to be not a single pharmaceutical company with any interest in lowering their price in order to win a bigger market share. It is a mystery to me how these companies continue to avoid an antitrust action from the federal government.
The drug companies are merciless in the way that they squeeze money out of people with various ailments, and then use those high profits to pay high salaries and benefits for their executives and stockholder dividends.