Cost to make insulin is a TINY fraction of the retail price

Cost to make a YEAR’S worth of insulin for one patient: $48-133.

Retail pricing is over $300 per bottle. So if you have no insurance, need 3 bottles per month, a year’s supply is ROUGHLY going to cost at least $10,000. Of course different types of insulin have different pricing than this example but it’s bad no matter what insulin you use if you don’t have insurance coverage. No wonder people are turning to GoFundMe. I can’t find details about what the various studies have concluded regarding the number of vials of insulin that equals a year’s supply.

Mind blown.

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Good to have actual numbers on this. Always wondered.

Of course you can never sell a product purely based on the production costs. You need to put something on top to recoup the R&D costs, plus you want to make a profit - that’s why you developed the product in the first place!

That said, the margin in insulin is ridiculously high. The price could be slashed in half and there would still be a huge profit. Although I think this isn’t only the fault of Big Pharma. Aren’t there some sort of middlemen in the US who are largely responsible for this mess? (I’m not from the US)

It is hard to blame the recoup of R&D costs for the continually rising costs. I believe most if not all of the common rapid acting insulins are 20+ years old and the patents have ran out on them (definitely true for Humalog). Not to mention that these companies usually get government funding for a lot of the R&D. The amount of money they put into R&D is very small compared to the amount they bring in.

As far as middle men being partly responsible for it, that isn’t quite true from what I have read. If I could find the article where someone requested comments form the manufacturers and also one of the “middlemen” I would post it. They had asked Express Scripts about it and they said that the manufacturers set the prices that they can buy it at so high that they have to sell it at the high prices. Granted I don’t have insight into the prices the manufacturers charge retailers, so that may not be quite true, but it definitely seems highly plausible.

Of course the companies are out to make a profit, but it is a completely broken system’s fault that they are able to charge so much more than they should. They don’t have to care.


And let’s not forget that a large chunk of the R & D costs are funded by NIH - our tax money.