Reasons Why Insulin Is So Expensive

Insulin is a life-saving drug that millions of people need to keep their blood glucose levels under control. But there’s one problem: the price of insulin outlet has been steadily increasing since the 1990s, and it’s not just because the cost of manufacturing insulin has increased. 

In fact, many experts believe that it’s due to something much more sinister: greed on the part of pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers. Here are some reasons why insulin can be so expensive:


When a drug is developed, the inventor will apply for patents on its invention. Patents are government-granted monopolies that allow companies to charge higher prices for their products. 

This is because when a company has a patent, they have exclusive rights over the use and production of that drug or technology until its expiration date (up to 20 years). So if you’re going to invent something, it’s helpful if you can make sure no one else is able to use or sell your invention until after your patent expires—otherwise, anyone could come along and make money off it before you do!

Corrupt and Inefficient Health Care System

Insulin is a life-sustaining drug, and it’s expensive. But that doesn’t mean that high prices are justified—and there’s evidence to suggest that a corrupt and inefficient healthcare system artificially inflates insulin production costs.

The current system for producing drugs is highly inefficient; every step in drug development costs money, which means pharmaceutical companies have a lot of overhead expenses (research and development, marketing) before they even get to make their product.

Tandem Diabetes professionals say, “They offer the only rechargeable insulin pump on the market, saving the environment!”

Executive Pay

The problem of executive pay is a complicated one that extends far beyond the drug industry. The issue isn’t just about what executives make; it’s also about how they get paid and how much those payment methods have changed over time.

In recent years, you’ve seen a shift toward so-called performance-based compensation for corporate leaders. This means that instead of giving a CEO or other executive a salary with no strings attached, companies try to link their compensation to metrics like profit or stock price performance over time (usually three years).

Drug Discounters

Drug discounters are middlemen that buy drugs in bulk and then sell them at a discount. They make money off of the difference between what they pay for the drugs and what they sell them for.

This can be a problem because these companies often purchase drugs from countries like India, where they may not be as regulated, or from gray-market sellers in other countries who don’t have to follow U.S. regulations on manufacturing standards.


When the price of insulin rose, and people started to feel the pinch, lawsuits became a popular way for consumers to fight back. One such suit was filed in 2015 by three Louisiana patients who claimed they could not afford their prescription medications, including insulin. Another suit claimed that a pharmacy chain artificially inflated drug prices for profit. 

Although these lawsuits did not succeed in bringing down the price of insulin or even reducing it significantly, they still cost millions of dollars to defend—money that could have been used to lower costs instead.

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