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Black voters in battleground states are a crucial voting bloc in 2024; Nikki Haley says she's voting for Trump in November; healthcare advocates suggest medical collaboration to treat fibroids; distinct vibes at IU Indianapolis pro-Palestinian protest.

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The House GOP moves to strike mention of Trump's criminal trial from the record, and his former rival Nikki Haley endorses him. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans reject a legislative fix to ensure Biden's name appears on the November ballot.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Insulin price gouging continues despite attempts to rein in the industry

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Monday, April 15, 2024   

Nearly one million Ohioans have been diagnosed with diabetes, but the cost of insulin continues to be a barrier for people needing the medication.

Policy Matters Ohio Budget, Health and Child Care Researcher Kathryn Poe said the cost of insulin can reach hundreds of dollars - but with insurance the range is on average $50 to $80, not including the cost of supplies.

Poe said the increasing cost of the medication, especially over the past decade, has been driven by the three pharmaceutical companies that control the market: Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi.

"We have a situation where only three companies are able to control basically the global supply of insulin," said Poe. "And in the United States, where there aren't proper checks and balances to regulate these companies, that means that there are unaffordable costs."

Researchers from Yale University found that among people who use insulin, nearly 1.2 million were financially burdened by their health-care spending over the course of a year.

A bipartisan bill filed earlier this year by state House lawmakers would cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin.

Poe says if passed, Ohio would follow other states that have passed insulin-affordability legislation that caps the cost of copays at around $35 for people with insurance.

"The one that's currently introduced in the Legislature, HB 384, actually caps the cost of supplies as well," said Poe, "which is really, really important."

While the Inflation Reduction Act capped out-of-pocket insulin costs for Medicare beneficiaries, Poe points out that more than 70% of adults nationwide who reported rationing insulin don't qualify.

It's estimated one in five adults younger than 65 limit their use of the medication because of cost.

"The high cost of the actual drug combined with the high cost of supplies has really made this crisis something that definitely kills people," said Poe. "People have lost their lives over this crisis."

But she added that for those with prescriptions who can afford it, they do have access to an emergency supply if they can't get to a doctor in time to refill.

In 2022, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law that allows patients to receive up to three emergency refills of life-saving medication within a year without a prescription.

Failing to dispense the drug could result in harm to their health.

This story was produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.




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