Large Insulin Price Hike to Be Investigated by U.S. Congress

The soaring cost of insulin will be investigated as the U.S. Congress holds hearings into the high cost of prescription drugs, a lawmaker says.

"I have heard stories about people reducing their life-saving medicines, like insulin, to save money," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the Associated Press reported.

"This is unacceptable and I intend to specifically get to the bottom of the insulin price increase," Grassley said.

The American Medical Association says insulin prices rose nearly 200 percent between 2002 and 2013 and has called on the government the huge increase, the AP reported.

Currently, there is no effective generic alternative to brand-name insulin costing hundreds of dollars a month.

The insulin market is dominated by a few companies, including Novo Nordisk, Sanofi and Eli Lilly, the AP reported.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee is holding its own hearings into drug industry pricing practices, and requests for detailed information have been sent to 12 major manufacturers.

Research suggests that price spikes of a few years ago have eased, according to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and the drug industry says government price regulation will stifle innovation and deprive patients of timely access to new medications, the AP reported.

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