Florida lawmakers push to cap insulin prices; health professionals support effort

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

There is no limit to how expensive lifesaving drugs can get. The per-prescription price for insulin doubled over the past 10 years. But there is hope.

Some Florida lawmakers are pushing to cap insulin prices at $100 a month.

MORE: SB 786: Prescription Insulin Drugs

Pharmacist T.J. DePaola of Cypress Pharmacy has worked in pharmacies for 30 years. He’s knows soaring drug prices force some customers to make difficult, even dangerous decisions.

“You’ve heard the horror stories from people, ‘I have to decide whether I eat or I take my medication.’ That is true,” DePaola said. “You will see people taking the medication incorrectly. Rather than taking it every day, they can’t afford it.”

DePaola thinks the Florida bill capping the price of insulin is a start because diabetics really can’t skip that.

“Unfortunately, the prices continue to go up on the brand-name drugs,” DePaola said. “There probably needs to be some intervention as far as capping the prices.”

Dr. Corin Dechirico, the chief medical officer for Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida, said doctors also play a critical role. She says they should prescribe medications their patients can afford.

“We as clinicians have to be mindful of that at the bedside and in the office, so that we’re not setting our patients up to fail, or to, you know, be unwell,” Dechirico said

DePaola told us he’s all for importing drugs from places such as Canada if it means lowering drug prices for all.

The governor’s plan to do just that hit a snag late last year.

No private firm bid on a $30 million contract to set up and operate the importation program.

The bill to cap the price of insulin unanimously passed its first committee in the Florida Senate.

“At the end of the day I think it all needs to be about the patient getting the medication and getting treatment,” DePaola said.

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