INTERVIEW ON THE PRICE OF BUSINESS SHOW, MEDIA PARTNER OF THIS SITE.
Recently Kevin Price, Host of the nationally syndicated Price of Business Show, interviewed Dr. David Wilcox.
With prescription drug prices skyrocketing, will free market pressure to decrease the costs actually produce results? In this article, we will examine how the pressure of free market pricing is causing one pharmaceutical company to lower its prices for the lifesaving drug insulin.
There is a growing diabetes epidemic in America today. Over 8 million Americans depend on insulin to control their blood sugar. The price of a vial of this lifesaving drug costs more than any other industrialized nation currently. In 2018 the average price for a vial of insulin with insurance was $98 while in France it was $9. At least 5 hardworking Americans died from insulin rationing in 2019, up from 4 Americans in 2018. In one of the richest countries in the world, one death from insulin rationing is one too many!
The recent announcement by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, the third largest producer of insulin, stating they will be decreasing the cost of many of their insulin products to $35 a month is promising. David Ricks the CEO of Eli Lilly would have you believe that this is a humanitarian effort to make insulin more affordable, but the pharmaceutical giant who pocketed 25.54 billion in 2020 may be responding to free market pressure. Let’s explore some of the factors that may have weighed into this decision.
The Inflation Reduction Act which was signed into law in August of 2022 capped the price of insulin to $35 a month for seniors on Part D of Medicare beginning on January 1st of 2023. While the pharmaceutical industry lobbied hard and successfully removed the cap for insulin for insured Americans from the bill, some corporations such as Walmart have been selling certain types of insulin at $25 a vial. With the Inflation Reduction Act penalizing pharmaceutical companies for raising rates on prescription drug prices higher than the rate of inflation we are beginning to see the effect of some much needed regulatory involvement in the pharmaceutical industry.
Along with the recent legislation affecting the price of insulin a nonprofit company in Utah, Civica Rx stated last year that they plan on introducing a generic form of insulin at no more than $30 a vial. The state of California and Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company is also looking at providing insulin at lower costs than the pharmaceutical industry is currently offering.
Is Eli Lilly’s recent announcement a great humanitarian effort or a reaction to free market pressure in an effort to stay competitive? Well, since Eli Lilly has been one of the top producers of insulin controlling a 27% market share in this space, they have certainly had plenty of time to reduce the cost of insulin for the average American. Given that it recently announced this strategy I think it’s pretty clear that they are acting on increased pressure to remain viable in a changing market. Simply put, Eli Lilly sees the handwriting on the wall. While any effort to reduce the high cost of any prescription, especially a lifesaving one, should be applauded, let’s take a moment to understand the motivation. Although this is just a chip in the block of the reduction of high prescription drug prices, we need to study this model to apply it to other high priced prescription drugs. Finally, the free market system appears to be slowly entering the complex American Healthcare System! This is a much needed change and an exciting time for consumers and patient advocates who have been fighting for years to provide affordable prescription drug prices to the American people.
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According to a statement, “Healthcare is complex and that is not an accident. It is complex by the healthcare entities vying for your healthcare dollars. Covid has exacerbated the American Healthcare System, which was fragile, to begin with. Many clinicians are leaving healthcare due to burnout. How does the average layperson navigate the complexities of the American Healthcare System where a prescription could cost you $5 at one pharmacy and $500 at another? What does the average layperson do when their insurance company rejects their claim? Proactive education of the American Healthcare System prior to accessing it is the key to safely navigating the healthcare system. Until now, little information has been available to provide the layperson with the knowledge they need to be a better partner in their health care. Dr. David Wilcox’s book How to Avoid Being a Victim of the American Healthcare System: A Patient’s Handbook for Survival” is a game-changer and will provide you with the skill set you need to navigate the American Healthcare System.
Dr. Wilcox is a Doctorate prepared nurse who also holds a Masters in Health Administration and is Board Certified in Nursing Informatics. Dr. Wilcox has 28 years of healthcare experience in which he worked as a bedside nurse, hospital administrator, and in healthcare information technology which has helped him to develop his unique perspective on the American Healthcare System.
Dr. Wilcox is the author of the book “How to Avoid Being a Victim of the American Healthcare System: A Patient’s Handbook for Survival (2021)” available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/0578878364
Dr. Wilcox currently resides in North Carolina with his wife and their three dogs.
Dr Wilcox’s website: Dr. David Wilcox – Healthcare, American Healthcare System (drdavidwilcox.com)
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW IN ITS ENTIRETY HERE