Federal Government Must Tackle Rising Insulin Prices: AMA

U.S. officials need to take action to control spiking insulin prices, the American Medical Association says.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department should monitor insulin pricing and market competition and take any necessary enforcement measures, AMA members agreed at the group's annual meeting.

The nation's largest physicians group said the rising cost of insulin is causing big financial problems for patients, Medicare and Medicaid.

"It is shocking and unconscionable that our patients struggle to secure a basic medicine like insulin," AMA board member Dr. William McDade said in a news release from the group.

"The federal government needs to step in and help make sure patients aren't being exploited with exorbitant costs. The AMA also plans to educate physicians and policymakers on ways to tackle this problem, and transparency from manufacturers and PBMs is a good place to start," McDade said.

The mean price of insulin rose nearly 200 percent between 2002 and 2013, from $4.34 to $12.92 per milliliter. Currently, at least 35 five states and a federal prosecutor are seeking information from insulin manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers, and class action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of patients.

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