Fact check: Sanders' claim about the price of the insulin.

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Senator Bernie Sanders made a claim about how the price of the insulin changed over time, he claimed the following:

Bernie Sanders on Twitter

Today in 1922, researchers at the University of Toronto announced the discovery of insulin. They sold the patent for $1 so it would be available to all. 97 years later, Eli Lilly is charging ~$300 and Americans die because they can’t afford their medication. Outrageous.

Claim 1 :

“Today in 1922, researchers at the University of Toronto announced the discovery of insulin. They sold the patent for $1 so it would be available to all.”

Fact check 1 : True

  1. The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame mentioned that “With assistance from Dr. James Collip, the insulin was successfully refined and produced for clinical trials, which were immediately successful. Demonstrating his altruistic commitment to advance medicine, Banting sold the patent rights for insulin to The University of Toronto for $1, claiming that the discovery belonged to the world, not to him”

Claim 2:

“Eli Lilly is charging ~$300 and Americans die because they can’t afford their medication. Outrageous”

Fact check 2: True

According to Axios, which cites Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database, the prices for the common insulin brand is as follows :

  • Novo Nordisk’s Novolog: $289
  • Eli Lilly’s Humalog: $275
  • Sanofi’s Lantus: $270

Business insider published a report showing the change of the insulin price over the years.
A study by Yale university mentioned that “One in four respondents indicated they’d done at least one of those underuse behaviors in the past year due to insulin’s out-of-pocket cost”. The “findings show that these are not isolated incidents and that skimping on insulin is frighteningly common.” Insulin is a life-saving medicine for patients with diabetes.

 

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