Let’s keep our eye on the real prize
Yesterday social media went wild with the President’s announcement that co-payments for insulin would be capped at $35 per month for Medicare patients. Many on the left rather than rejoicing in this news scolded the President for what is a politically motivated attempt to get the senior vote. According to most polls the President trails Biden in this important voting bloc. The President knows seniors vote, he knows he’s behind in most polls and this is an election year and he wants to keep his job.
Regardless of anyone’s political beliefs it’s just plain foolish to think any politician Democrat or Republican does not pander to voters in an election year. Senator Biden understands the importance of female voters and has promised to select a woman as his Vice President. Is this pandering? Absolutely and we see nothing wrong with it as this is how things work in the real world.
For the last few years many complained long and loud about the “high” out of pocket cost of insulin. We have seen numerous articles about how the wholesale price of insulin has risen a gazillion percent. How Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi are putting profits ahead of patients. We have all seen the stories about a patient dying because they could not afford the drug that keeps them alive.
These efforts have excuse the expression have paid off as many states have now enacted laws which cap co-payments for insulin. What makes the President’s move more important is that many health plans model their plans after Medicare, not to mention the additional public pressure this move creates. As evidence by the firestorm in social media this is big news.
Rather than complaining that this move was politically motivated, which it was, the diabetes community should be jumping for joy as they got what they wanted. Although we are pretty sure there will some who complain that $35 per month or $420 per year is still too high a price to pay. As Momma Kliff used to say there is no way to satisfy everyone and it ain’t worth trying.
The street seems to think this is bad news as Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi all were lower yesterday. Lilly and Novo both down over 2%. Yet we don’t see this hurting any of the insulin companies too hard as insulin was already a commodity and is becoming somewhat of an afterthought for all the companies. Lilly and Novo in particular are making boatloads of money from the sale of GLP-1’s a category which continues to grow and is patent protected.
Insulin on the flip side has commoditized and with the coming of a biosimilar short acting will commoditize even more. Lilly, Novo and Sanofi will still make money from the sale of insulin they just won’t me making as much money as they used to. Unfortunately the demand for insulin won’t go away.
So we have a word of advice for everyone who is upset over this politically motivated move; get over it. Rejoice in the fact that insulin is now more affordable. Pat yourselves on the back for winning the fight and don’t fret over why you won. This firestorm reminds us of fans of the Chicago Bulls during their glory years who complained that the team was not blowing out every opponent and going 82-0. The goal my friends is to win championships and the Bulls won six of them. Given the Bulls have sunk to new lows and a championship is nowhere in sight we’d give anything to go back to complaining about only wining by a few points while racking up one championship after another.
Hey folks let’s keep our eye on the prize and now that insulin is now more affordable let’s hope a more important goal is achieved. That patients use insulin effectively, so their outcomes improve. This to us has always been the bigger more important prize.