March 19, 2023 4 min read

why is insulin expensive


Insulin is a life-saving medication that is essential for individuals living with diabetes. However, many people with diabetes struggle to afford the high prices of insulin. As insulin prices continue to rise, more and more patients are left wondering how they will be able to afford their medication. With the increase in insulin prices, the cost of diabetes care has skyrocketed, making it difficult for individuals to manage their blood sugar levels and stay healthy. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed promptly.

Through out this article, will explore the challenges of accessing affordable insulin in today's healthcare system. We will discuss the factors that contribute to the rising cost of insulin and the effects that this has on patients. Additionally, we will look at the various solutions that have been proposed to address this issue and explore what we can do to improve access to affordable insulin. Our aim is to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the current state of insulin affordability and empower them with the knowledge and resources they need to take action.


Sanofi, Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk, the three leading insulin manufacturers in the United States, have recently declared their dedication to reducing the prices of insulin. The companies have acknowledged the significant financial burden that insulin-dependent patients face due to the high cost of the medication. By committing to lowering insulin prices, these manufacturers are taking a crucial step towards making insulin more accessible and affordable for those who need it the most. The announcement is a positive development in the fight against high drug prices and provides hope for millions of Americans who struggle to afford their insulin therapy. We applaud these companies for their commitment to making insulin more accessible and affordable for everyone.



The state of California has made a significant stride towards enhancing the availability of insulin for individuals with diabetes. By partnering with Civica Rx, the state has taken a bold step to develop its own insulin. Under the California Rx program, which aims to make generic medications more accessible and affordable, the agreement covers three types of insulin: glargine, lispro, and aspart.

"The state-branded insulin will be priced at a maximum of $30 per 10-milliliter vial and no more than $55 for a pack of five pre-filled pen cartridges for both insured and uninsured patients." This is a significant breakthrough in ensuring that people with diabetes can access affordable insulin. California is the first state in the country to sign an insulin agreement, and it is hoped that this will pave the way for more reasonably priced medications, resulting in a better quality of life for those of us who live with diabetes.


It's a relief to see some positive action taken for people with diabetes in the United States. Sanofi, Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk, the three largest insulin manufacturers in the country, have announced their commitment to lowering insulin prices.

Some Important Factors:

  • The three manufactures who recently capped their prices reduced the list price of insulin by over 68% each
  • The big three hold 90% of the market in the US
  • TheCenters for Disease Control and Prevention reported that roughly 16.5 of insulin users ration it due to cost 
  • TheAmerican Diabetes Association found that insulin price almost tripled between 2002-2013. The average retail insulin cost increased by over 50% between 2014 and 2019. 
  •  Around 9 million Americans need insulin to sustain their LIFE

The affordability of insulin has been a topic close to my heart since being diagnosed with type one diabetes back in 2005. It's crucial that everyone who needs this life-saving medication can access it without financial and accessibility barriers.

There's still much work to be done, but I'm taking a moment to acknowledge the progress we've made for myself and my diabuddies. I remain hopeful that we can achieve a future where no one has to lose their life due to not having insulin.

If you or someone you know needs help obtaining insulin or has trouble affording it check out this resource



We must advocate for policies that address the high cost of insulin and work towards creating a health ecosystem that is patient first. 

The commitment made by Sanofi, Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk to lower insulin prices is a step in the right direction towards making insulin more affordable for patients. However, the fact that appromixmental 1 in 6 diabetics must ration their insulin due to cost highlights the urgent need for change. The move by California to create its own insulin is also a promising development, as it may help to increase competition and lower prices. Insulin is a life-saving drug, and it's crucial that efforts continue to be made to ensure that everyone who needs it can access it without financial hardship.

If you would like to join me in advocating on this global insulin affordability crisis, please check out the advocacy efforts with 



Danica Collins

Danica The Diabetic shares her holistic approach to living life as a diabetic. Danica has been a type one diabetic for 17 years. Until 2015, she had a limited diabetes community and a narrow picture of how to do normal things as a diabetic. There is no playbook! When she was first diagnosed she was given a list of what not to do. She created her online platform to build community and share how she uses health, nutrition, wellness, and exercise to manage her diabetes. With her go-getter and health centric lifestyle she uses experience to connect with others. Having a diagnosis does not mean living without, it means modification and moderation! Danica encourages others to live their best life while managing their diabetes. 


Leave a comment