Schumer to hold Senate vote on capping insulin price in March

FILE PHOTO: Insulin supplies are pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City,
FILE PHOTO: Insulin supplies are pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 18, 2019.
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Senator Chuck Schumer wants the Senate to vote next month on capping the cost of insulin, the Majority Leader said Sunday.

Schumer said he wants to limit the cost at $35 per vial down from hundreds of dollars that Americans shell out for the lifesaving medicine.

“The current cost of this life-saving drug runs from $300-$600 per vial, it is not just ridiculous, it’s dangerous,” Schumer said in a release on Feb. 20. “Millions of Americans and too many New Yorkers stand with me on this push to cap the cost of insulin at $35 so we can stop rationing this drug, buying on the dangerous black market, and other methods that, quite frankly, risk life.”

The drug is vital for control of blood sugar for people with diabetes, but costs have been rising by 15%-17% a year since 2012, according to Schumer.

The cap was part of President Joe Biden’s failed Build Back Better bill, and some states have limited insulin co-pays.

Insulin prices in the United States are also around eight times higher than in other countries, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The skyrocketing prices have led to one-in-four patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes to rationing their insulin.

More than 100,000 Americans died from diabetes in 2021, the second year that the country surpassed that threshold. 

One New Yorker who regularly uses insulin joined Schumer’s press conference in Midtown to talk about the odd jobs she was forced to take to afford the high cost of the medicine.

“I’ve supplemented my income with weird Craigslist gigs, paid medical trials, credit card points, and one-off ‘under the table‘ cash gigs,” said Rachael Marotta. “I would without a doubt move to another country if I didn’t have my family here, who I would miss.”