What We're Reading: Insulin Costs Double; PhRMA's Record Spending; Causes of Liver Transplants

Between 2012 and 2016, insulin costs for patients nearly doubled while utilization remained flat; the pharmaceutical industry's lead lobbying group spent a record amount in 2018; and alcohol-associated liver disease has surpassed hepatitis C as the top cause of liver transplants.

Insulin Costs Double

PhRMA Spends Record Amount on Lobbying

Alcohol Leading Cause of Liver Transplant

Between 2012 and 2016, insulin costs for patients nearly doubled despite utilization remaining flat. According to STAT, patients with type 1 diabetes spent $5705 on insulin in 2016 compared with $2864 in 2012. The price of all insulin products increased during the 4-year period and out-of-pocket costs nearly doubled from $0.13 per unit to $0.25 per unit. During the same period, average daily insulin use increased just 3%.The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry’s leading lobby group, revealed that it spent a record $27.5 million on lobbying in 2018 amid a slew of drug pricing reform, reported Bloomberg. Last year’s spending was $1.4 million more than in 2009, when the Affordable Care Act was introduced. In the fourth quarter of 2018, PhRMA spent more than $6 million to lobby Congress and the Trump administration, but its biggest quarter came in the first 3 months of the year, with the group spending nearly $10 million.Alcohol-associated liver disease has surpassed hepatitis C as the top reason for liver transplants in the United States, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Looking at nearly 33,000 patients, researchers found that the proportion of liver transplants for alcohol-associated liver disease increased from 24.2% in 2002 to 27.2% in 2010 and 36.7% in 2016. According to the researchers, one reason for the shift could be that hepatitis C has become easier to treat with drugs.