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Survey: Insulin Costs Weigh Heavily on WA Families

One in five Washington state families cuts costs elsewhere to pay for insulin, according to a new survey. (Allen/Adobe Stock)
One in five Washington state families cuts costs elsewhere to pay for insulin, according to a new survey. (Allen/Adobe Stock)
February 13, 2020

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A new survey shows the rising cost of prescription drugs is causing mountains of stress for many Washington state families.

In particular, skyrocketing insulin prices are causing families to make tough decisions, according to the AARP Washington survey.

One in five families says it has to make adjustments to accommodate costs, such as cutting back on food or electricity, taking less medication than prescribed or even skipping a dose.

Tina Ghosn is a mother of three children with diabetes. She says she's fortunate not to be in the tough position of many families, but even with her insurance covering 80% of the cost, the bill is high.

"Just the insulin alone, you know, costs roughly $6,000 a year for us just to keep the kids alive with the insulin," she points out.

Ghosn supports bills in the Washington State Legislature to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $100 per month and create a centralized purchasing process for the drug.

The AARP survey shows strong support for these approaches, with 93% of respondents agreeing with capping costs and 83% supporting the state negotiating prices.

Ghosn says the United States should be able to follow other countries, where people pay far less to pharmaceutical companies for drugs such as insulin.

"A lot of people in the United States can't pay it, but just because some of us can doesn't mean that we should have to just because it's a way for them to line their pockets and basically hold us hostage because my kids can't live without it," she states.

The AARP survey finds people also support price controls on prescription drugs beyond insulin.

Some 80% strongly or somewhat support out-of-pocket cost caps, 87% believe drug companies should be required to disclose how prices are set and 91% say it should be easier for generic drugs to come to the market.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA