Press release

American Diabetes Association Urges Federal Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

March 29, 2021 | Arlington, Virginia

CEO Tracey D. Brown Calls on Congress to Take Aggressive Steps to Make Insulin and Other Diabetes Medications More Affordable

The American Diabetes Association® (ADA) last week recommended urgent federal action to bring down skyrocketing drug prices before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. In a statement for the congressional record submitted in conjunction with the HELP Committee’s Primary Health and Retirement Security Subcommittee’s recent hearing exploring reasons the U.S. pays the highest prices in the world for prescription medications, ADA CEO Tracey D. Brown spoke to the unique financial challenges faced by Americans with diabetes and stressed the need for immediate relief—especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has only compounded existing financial strain.

“The price of insulin alone has roughly tripled in the past decade, increasing from less than $100 for an average vial in 2009 to nearly $300 for the same vial today, even though today’s insulin is nearly the exact same product as it was ten years ago. With these facts in mind, it should be little surprise that Americans spend more treating diabetes than any other chronic condition; that people with diabetes in the U.S. spend two and a half times more on health care than those who do not have diabetes; that they account for $1 in every $3 spent on prescription drugs, and 25 cents of every dollar spent on health care, in America today; and that one in four insulin-dependent Americans report rationing their insulin supply due to financial difficulty,” wrote Brown.

“While Congress has for some time considered policy approaches to make drug costs more affordable, we urge this Subcommittee and Congress more broadly to prioritize policy approaches that will serve the medical interests of patients and put money back in their pockets. Proposals that simply shift funds among players in the supply chain are not going to serve patients if patients themselves are not realizing savings—at the pharmacy counter, in their premiums, and in the cost of deductibles. Practical approaches that put patients first should be the first goal of any effort to make drugs more affordable.”

The ADA implores leaders in government to take aggressive action to lower the cost of prescription drugs and looks forward to continuing to work with Congress to ensure that all Americans with diabetes can afford to stay safe and healthy. Read the full statement here.

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About the American Diabetes Association
Every day more than 4,000 people are newly diagnosed with diabetes in America. More than 122 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes and are striving to manage their lives while living with the disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For 80 years the ADA has been driving discovery and research to treat, manage and prevent diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. We help people with diabetes thrive by fighting for their rights and developing programs, advocacy and education designed to improve their quality of life. Diabetes has brought us together. What we do next will make us Connected for Life. To learn more or to get involved, visit us at or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Join the fight with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).