WASHINGTON, D.C. — Noting the price of the insulin she uses to control her Type 1 diabetes is now "in between the price of Chanel No. 5 and cobra venom,” U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier introduced a bill Wednesday to bring down the cost of the vital drug.
Schrier, a Sammamish pediatrician representing Washington's 8th District, says the Protecting Access to Biosimilars Act would pave the way for less-expensive versions of brand-name insulins. She introduced the bill alongside one Democratic and two Republican cosponsors.
“We should be doing everything we can to make more affordable treatments widely available," said Schrier, whose own insulin cost has tripled in 10 years to $260, "because right now for too many of my patients and people across the country, the cost of insulin is a life or death issue."
The bill would make law a Food and Drug Administration rule that allows "biosimilar," or generic, drugs to receive an expedited approval process without clinical trials, contributing to lower prices. Unlike an FDA rule, the law could not be administratively revoked by a presidential administration.
Insulin is a must-have drug for Type 1 and many Type 2 diabetics, whose bodies do not properly manufacture the natural hormone. Fast-rising insulin prices have drawn concern from healthcare authorities, with costs of leading insulin products now at $178 to $300 per vial and $235 to $563 per monthly pack of pens.
This week, French drugmaker Sanofi said it will lower the price of its insulin treatments for uninsured U.S. patients to $99 per month. In March, Eli Lilly announced plans to sell a half-price generic insulin injection for $137.35 per vial.
Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013