No Dem Left Behind, a grassroots coalition of Democratic candidates, announced their platform on reducing Insulin costs in December. The coalition supports reducing Insulin costs in order to offer more cost-effective solutions for individuals with diabetes, which will reduce the number of individuals who are forced to find dangerous alternatives to purchasing insulin.
Cindy Banyai, Democratic candidate for Congress (FL19), a member of No Dem Left Behind, supports reducing the cost of insulin. "Out of control prices are a major problem in our healthcare system," Banyai states. She goes on to say, "medical bankruptcy is a leading cause of poverty and homelessness and is something that I saw first hand while serving homeless families in Southwest Florida."
Background: Insulin Costs and Capitalism - When insulin was first created, it was not intended to be a profitable product at all -- it was intended to be a gift for mankind. Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin in 1923, sold it for just $1. Banting knew the drug could save lives, and did not want anyone who needed it to go without it simply because they could not afford it. However, insulin prices today have skyrocketed for the exact reason that Banting was attempting to provide: so drug and healthcare producers could make a profit. In the past 20 years, out-of-pocket insulin costs have increased by nearly 6 00%, and not due to rising production expenses. Rather, because of a lack of market competition, patent laws, and governmental regulations, the few companies that produce insulin sell it for high costs because they can. Insulin isn’t a luxury, or a drug that will simply make someone’s life easier. As a life-saving drug, companies know that consumers will pay high prices for insulin. Simply put, the price for insulin is artificially inflated. No Dem Left Behind supports governmental regulation of insulin prices in order to benefit working and middle class families. Governmental regulations will not negatively affect the market or the economy, but instead will provide middle class families affordable alternatives.
Risks of High Insulin Costs - The price of insulin is so high that many individuals with Diabetes are turning to desperate measures in order to get by. They might use expired insulin, cross borders, or ration their supplies. All of these alternatives are dangerous -- even life-threatening. In the past two years, at least ten individuals have lost their lives attempting to use cost-effective alternatives to buying American insulin.
Governmental Regulations - Government regulations have proved effective in similar democracies. Regulations may include setting a maximum price that companies may charge for a drug, meaning that if they attempt to sell it for a higher price, they lose out on the market. This provides market competition and drives down the price of drugs. Other government involvement may involve allowing the federal government to manufacture insulin themselves or higher outside contractors to do so, thus providing an affordable alternative for consumers.
About No Dem Left Behind
No Dem Left Behind is a national grassroots coalition dedicated to getting Democratic candidates in red districts elected. It is composed of nine candidates across the country who are fighting to represent their constituents and get elected. Learn more here.