The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs has become a bipartisan issue among voters, and Utahns overwhelmingly back a plan to help diabetics overcome the cost of life-saving insulin.
A poll out this week from UtahPolicy.com and Y2 Analytics finds that 78% of Utah voters have said they would support a law to cap the spiraling cost of insulin for most diabetics. The proposal, which has yet to gain backing in the Utah Legislature, would limit a patient's monthly co-pay for insulin products to $100.
The idea mirrors a bill passed in Colorado last year to limit a patient's out-of-pocket costs for insulin, a hormone critical to diabetics for controlling their blood sugar. Stacy Stanford with the Utah Health Policy Project said over the past decade the rising cost of insulin has forced many diabetics to make tough – and sometimes life-threatening – decisions.
“One of the most glaring instances when it comes to prescription drugs is with insulin,” Stanford said. “It is something that has been increasing astronomically even though it only costs a few dollars to produce. And insulin is not optional.”
According to the poll, 49% of Utah voters would strongly support a bill to limit insulin co-pays, while another 29% would somewhat support the idea. Only 10% of those polled said they would strongly oppose such a bill.
According to a national prescription-drug database, the average cost of a 20-milliliter vial of long-acting insulin now costs almost 15 hundred dollars. Stanford said that’s unacceptable.
"Rationing leads to death,” Stanford said. “Full stop. Insulin -- without it, it is fatal. And so, I think that it's kind of a glaring example of where the gap is and where this crisis is really growing. "
And while public sentiment in Utah is behind the idea, so far no one has filed a bill for the upcoming session of the Utah Legislature to debate. Stanford said her organization is working to make that happen.
So far, a Colorado law is the only concrete measure taken by a state to lower the spiraling cost of prescription drugs.