Statement of Peter Maybarduk, Director, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program
Note: President Donald Trump announced today that 1,750 Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans have applied to participate in a model to limit insulin out-of-pocket payments. Only 54% of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in so-called “enhanced plans” that are eligible to participate in the model, and only 44% of those plans have agreed to participate. A Public Citizen analysis from March concluded that the model did nothing to address the ability of pharmaceutical corporations to set exorbitant prices for insulin.
Deaths from insulin rationing are preventable, and under this plan, such deaths will continue.
This plan could provide relief for many seniors who struggle to afford their insulin, but it fails to help most insulin users, including millions of young people and seniors who are not in an eligible plan. Most of the people known to have died from insulin rationing in recent years were young and uninsured. The plan also does not touch outrageous insulin price gouging.
The federal government has the power today, under existing authority, to challenge the insulin makers’ oligopoly, license patents and lower prices. The Trump administration has taken none of these steps and has shown its unwillingness to take on Big Pharma.