HHS Secretary Becerra touts lower insulin prices

HHS Secretary Becerra touts lower insulin prices

HHS Secretary Becerra touts lower insulin prices

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra made several stops in the Twin Cities, touting the impact of the “Inflation Reduction Act” on prescription drug prices, especially insulin needed by diabetes patients. Insulin co-pays have been capped at $35 for Medicare patients (those over 65 years old).

“No more than $35. I go around the country talking to people — you know the first time I went around in January or February they say last month, in December 2022, I paid $117 bucks for what I just paid $35 for. These are folks on fixed incomes,” Becerra said at a roundtable meeting in north Minneapolis alongside Governor Tim Walz.

A doctor who serves on the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy says lowering insulin prices can have the side benefit of reducing other health care costs.

“One thing we know about diabetes is when people don’t take their medication, it causes hospitalizations, causes ER visits,” said Dr. Ronda Chakolis.

Governor Walz says it helps having the HHS secretary here highlighting lower insulin prices just a couple years after Minnesota passed its own insulin affordability law.

“You heard the doctors,” the governor told reporters afterward. “You heard the statistics in there. The number one reason that people do not take their medication and get bad outcomes is because of cost and access to them. So I think hearing from folks, hearing them say here’s what we need to do, having them engaged really matters.”

Secretary Becerra says the inflation reduction act gives the government the ability to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare patients on a wide variety of prescription drugs. However, even before that process begins the government is getting pushback from pharmaceutical companies. 

“This week we already got sued by one of the drug makers even though we haven’t said how we’re going to do this they’re already suing us to stop us from negotiating lower drug prices,” Becerra said. “So just so you see what we’re up against. It is a challenge.”