Will the patient win?
From what we can see on Twitter the West Coast Mafia is all agog about some hearings in our nation’s capital about the “high” out of pocket of insulin. A “problem” that may or may not exist as it really depends on how “high” is defined and the reasons behind the “high”. Since we have gone around and around on this issue before let’s look at this from a different perspective. Just what do these people expect to happen? Just what can the government do?
As we and thankfully others have noted this “high” out of pocket cost of insulin is not a simple math problem but a complex algebraic problem with multiple variables. The “blame” cannot be laid at the doorstep of the insulin companies, payors, PBM’s or employers. There is plenty of “blame” to go around. So, what exactly is the government supposed to do?
Institute price controls? Somehow “limit” what a patient pays out of pocket?
Yes, we have all heard the heart wrenching stories of a patient who could not afford insulin and ended up either in the hospital or worse died. However as sad as these stories are we have yet to see any real evidence that this “problem” is widespread. In fact, the private research we have seen, and this wasn’t done any of the insulin companies, shows this “problem” impacts a very small percentage of patients.
Now this really doesn’t matter much to the West Coast Mafia a group that never lets the facts get in the way of what they see as good story. Yep it sure makes these people feel important when they can say they testified before Congress. Or that they are leading an effort that will “benefit” patients with diabetes. It sure makes them look “good” and you bet makes them feel like they are more important than they really are.
Keep in mind these are the same people who complain that the insulin’s we have aren’t good enough and they want the same companies they are bashing to spend millions to develop better insulin’s. Why should they if they aren’t allowed to make a profit. What’s the point? Contrary to what these people believe the insulin companies do not answer to them, they answer to their stakeholders. Stakeholders who expect the company they have invested in to make money.
Research costs millions if not billions of dollars. Do these people seriously expect after spending all that money the company should just give it away or not be able to make a profit. This is so damn hypocritical and honestly just makes us want to puke every time we hear it. But being hypocritical is what the West Coast Mafia is very good at.
Yep, Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) decides to shut down Animas and sets up an agreement with Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) to take over the Animas patient base. So, what does the West Coast Mafia do? They write stupid self-serving letters to JNJ CEO Alex Gorsky. Letters which also bash Medtronic a company they once praised for getting the 670G approved. Like we said being hypocritical and two-faced are what these people are good at.
What these self-serving two-faced hypocrites never do is think about the consequences of their self-serving movements. Do we really want the government solving this so-called problem? See what these hypocrites don’t do is their due diligence. They don’t bother to deal with the facts. Nope these self-serving hypocrites live in some sort of fantasy land and have no clue that diabetes is a huge business. That none of the things we have today would have been invented had diabetes not been a huge business.
Listen we get it that it sucks when the business of diabetes interferes with the management of diabetes. It certainly bites the big one that there is a small group of patients who cannot afford the drug that keeps them alive. Yes, we get it managing diabetes can suck and it doesn’t help matters that it also can be very expensive. Living with diabetes and covering this industry for over 20 years we get it.
But what we don’t get is the hypocrisy. We have said it before and we will say it again IF INSULIN WAS GIVEN AWAY FOR FREE WE WOULD NOT SEE IMPROVEMENTS IN PATIENT OUTCOMES. Yes, those people who cannot afford insulin would be helped but what about the millions of patients who aren’t impacted by the supposed “high” cost of insulin, what about these people? Will they suddenly find religion just because insulin is now free. If you believe that one we’ve got a bridge in the Bay Area you can buy.
The last thing we need in diabetes is to solve a “problem” that really isn’t a problem to start with. We do not need the government regulating the cost of insulin. What we need is common sense, something that’s in very short supply with the West Coast Mafia.
Insulin companies do offer programs for patients that are shall we say financially challenged. Yet what about the patients who have crappy insurance or those who have chosen a higher deductible plan that offers a lower premium but comes with higher out of pocket costs? Do we punish insulin companies for these very real situations? Do we require employers to offer only low deductible insurance plans, does that not punish their employees who are healthy? Are not employers also entitled to make a profit? Are they not free to choose which type of health insurance they offer their employees?
Listen we could care less if we piss these people off. We’ve done it before and likely will do it again. And to be honest we could care less as we cannot tolerate hypocrisy. The insulin market is collapsing, insulin has become a commodity. We now have both a biosimilar long-acting and short-acting insulin. So, it makes perfect sense that we should solve a so-called problem that is solving itself thanks to natural market forces.
We seriously believe that West Coast Mafia would blame the iceberg for hitting the Titanic. That it wasn’t because the captain was a blithering idiot. Nope that damn iceberg targeted the Titanic. Seriously if these people need something to do with their free time how about help the homeless or donate money to worth charities. Do something constructive, solve a problem that exists. Do something for the right reasons and not just so you can be on TV, testify before Congress (big deal) or feel important.
To all my readers feel free to share this post as I could care less what these hypocrites think. Frankly it’s fun to piss them off. As Momma Kliff used to say; “Stupidity should be exposed whenever the opportunity presents itself.”