Insulin Access and Affordability

The average list price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years, nearly tripling between 2002 and 2013. As the list price increases, patients’ costs also increase. Individuals with diabetes are often forced to choose between purchasing their medication or paying for other necessities, exposing them to serious short- and long-term health consequences. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is committed to helping find solutions for individuals and families who lack affordable access to insulin. 

Make Insulin Affordable

In November of 2016 the ADA launched its Make Insulin Affordable campaign, which calls for all entities in the insulin supply chain to be transparent about the pricing process. Increasing transparency is the first step toward identifying viable, long-term solutions. More than 340,000 people have signed a petition calling for increased transparency in the insulin supply chain and for Congress to hold hearings to identify the reasons for the dramatic increases in insulin costs. Learn more about our Make Insulin Affordable campaign.

Insulin Access and Affordability Working Group

In the spring of 2017, the ADA Board of Directors convened an Insulin Access and Affordability Working Group (Working Group) to examine the full scope of the insulin affordability issue. Throughout 2017 and early 2018, the Working Group assembled existing public information about insulin prices and patient cost-sharing, and held discussions with multiple stakeholders at every level of the insulin supply chain to discuss how each entity affects the cost of insulin for the consumer. 

In May 2018, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing titled Insulin Access and Affordability: The Rising Cost of Treatment, during which the Working Group’s Chair and ADA Chief Scientific, Medical and Mission Officer, Dr. William T. Cefalu, discussed the Working Group’s findings. The Working Group’s findings can be accessed in the June 2018 issue of Diabetes Care.

Watch the Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing

Read the Working Group’s findings 

Public Policy Statement: Improving Insulin Access and Affordability

One of the core public policy priorities for the ADA is to ensure health insurance options provide adequate and affordable access to the care people with diabetes and prediabetes need. As part of that work, the ADA has actively worked to enact legislation and influence regulations improving or protecting access to and affordability of health care at the state and federal levels. Much of this work has addressed coverage for and affordability of prescription drugs for people with diabetes, including insulin.

To follow-up on the Insulin Access and Affordability Working Group’s conclusions and recommendations, ADA released a Public Policy Statement with recommended steps policy makers can take to improve access to affordable insulin.  Read the Public Policy Statement.

Insulin Affordability Survey

The American Diabetes Association engaged Vault, LLC, a full-service accounting and research firm, to conduct independent research regarding insulin affordability for insulin users in the United States. Vault employed a programmatic sample exchange in order to ensure that the population invited to participate in the survey closely resembled the population of the United States. Executive summary of the survey results.

  • Last Reviewed: May 22, 2018
  • Last Edited: May 24, 2018