Health: The Price of Insulin

The Story:

Former President Donald Trump claims that he forced a lowering of the price of insulin to just “pennies a day.” For most users, this is an overstatement. What is true is that on July 24, 2020 Trump signed an order authorizing the Department of Health and Human Services to act in order to keep such prices low: but the specific content of that order is … complicated.


The price of insulin has steadily increased in recent years in a way disproportionate to annual inflation. This fact is poignant precisely because diabetes patients need their insulin to survive, and more than 34 million Americans have diabetes.

Trump’s order requires participants in the 340B Program, an existing federal program involving around 1,400 community health care clinics around the country, to offer insulin at reduced prices to patients with little or no insurance coverage.

In Pill Form:

President Trump did reduce the price of insulin for some low-income diabetes patients. This may have exerted some pressure on pharma to reduce the price more generally for those 34 million, but the existence of such pressure, and the size of its effect, is not at all clear.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.