LOUISVILLE, Ky. — "There is a lack of transparency. Nobody knows where all this money is going. Who is making all this profit, and it's very difficult to understand why is this happening."
Dr. Sri Mokshagundam is a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville. He's spent 27 years at the University of Louisville, with more than 35 years of practice in this field.
"This increase in price is simply because they can. Something has to be done," Mokshagundam said.
Dr. Mokshagundam says the insulin diabetics take today is the same insulin they've taken for the last two decades. Only the technology used to inject it has changed.
"Insulin was discovered in 1921, so almost a hundred years ago. Before that, people with Type 1 Diabetes would have a very short lifespan. They'd die within a few weeks to a couple of years after the diagnosis," he said.
Today, going without insulin can cause kidney failure, loss of vision and sensation in the feet, heart attacks, strokes, even death.
"If the only reason they're in the hospital is because they can't pay for insulin, it doesn't make sense," Dr. Mokshagundam said. "That's hundreds of thousands of dollars. That could cover their insulin costs."
Diabetics can turn to places like Walmart for cheaper insulin, but say it's a less effective product compared to what's out there.
"In the last couple of years, there have been so-called generic brands, which aren't truly generic. What is really happening, is that one insulin manufacturer makes an insulin from the other company because it's now off-patent. For example, Lantus insulin which is made by Sanofi, can now be made by Lilly, called Basalog," he said.
"It's the same insulin. But since it's off-patent, they can do that. But then the cost, while it's a bit less, it's not all that much lower. To make up for that, Sanofi started making Lilly's insulin, which was Humalog. So they started making Admelog," he said.
In other countries, there is a regulation on pricing. That’s not the case in America.
"When you compare this to any other country, we're paying a lot more, anywhere from 3 to 10 times the cost," Mokshagundam said.