The internet meme below has been circulating on Facebook recently. Is the content of it true? Where I am (not in the US) insulin is a quite cheap medicin.

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    It's unclear what you're asking. Are you asking if producers made that argument? And if so, who did they make it to? Or are you asking if US insulin prices are too high? You need to provide some context and clarify. A screen shot of some highlighted text isn't a question.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jul 3, 2018 at 1:50
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    @Gordon Your comments are just rants and have nothing to do with the question.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jul 3, 2018 at 1:51
  • @CareyGregory I diagree that my comments were "just rants". My first comments were strong but "just rants" no, I don't think so. Of course, if the moderators want to take my comments down, they have the ability to do so. I won't be offended.
    – Gordon
    Jul 3, 2018 at 4:04
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    @Gordon Comments are meant for clarification, corrections, etc. That's a longstanding policy across all exchanges. They're also ephemeral and subject to being deleted or cleaned up at any time. They aren't intended for actual content. If you think your comments add worthwhile information to the question, they need to be in an answer.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jul 3, 2018 at 4:33
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    Surely the question should have been more detailed, but I don't think its totally unclear what he's asking.. It's a "delicate" topic where he asked for more information about. Jul 6, 2018 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


The insulin price has grown significantly over the years, mostly from 2000-ish to 2014 for almost every major producer.
The percentage of people that have to pay (and/or copay) more than 1000$ has for the first time since 1999 the 50% mark, and for a lifesaver medicine like insulin, this is a major problem that affects the 1.5 million people living in the US with type 1 diabetes. (plus the type 2 diabetic people) There are several factors that impact the cost structure of this industry and vary from the drug makers itself to an indefinite number of intermediaries (pharmacy benefit managers, companies) and the R&D for developing new types of insulin, like the Fiasp.
On the other hand, there are countries like Italy (where I live) where you (mostly) don't have to pay for insulin.

Response to Marzipanherz: Yes, here in Italy the price of insulin have been less affected by the rise compared to the US. A package of 5 vials of Novorapid, cost just a little bit over 50€ to the Italian Sanitary System, and years ago was just under that price. The situation is a little bit more complicated, due to the fact each region can, in a broad way, publish public notices allowing each drug-maker to make an offer in order to enhance the competition between them and getting the lower price for the market.
Of course, if a patient has a need of getting a specific type of insulin, he will get it but the general rule is to administer the insulin brand that won the public notice. There is a quite relevant paper (written entirely in Italian) where it states that the average expenditure for a type 1 Diabetic person in Italy is about 4777€ of which 1399€ are on medicine and materials. In the US the direct costs (paid directly or indirectly) for the Diabetic person is about 7888$. Those data should be interpreted with more context but they give a general idea of the differences between the 2 countries.

  • Regarding your last sentence: I assume, patients in Italy don't need to pay, because a health insurance does. If so, do you know whether prices for the insurance were stable over the last years?
    – Arsak
    Jul 6, 2018 at 15:05
  • @Marzipanherz I replied you in the answer, maybe could be helpful to someone! Jul 6, 2018 at 23:48

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