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US House of Representatives passes affordable insulin bill

Washington – Thanks to a new law in the United States, people with diabetes should no longer save on their vital insulin for financial reasons. The House of Representatives in Washington yesterday voted in favor of legislation capping insulin spending by diabetics at $35 a month. Until now, the millions of diabetics in the United States have had to spend hundreds of dollars a month on their insulin.

232 lawmakers, including a few opposition Republicans, voted in favor of the law, while 193 lawmakers voted against it. Now the Senate still has to give the green light. In addition to the Democrats of US President Joe Biden, ten Republicans would also have to agree. Whether this will succeed is an open question. The upcoming midterm congressional elections in November could play a role in the senators’ decision.

The House of Representatives bill would allow private health insurers to cap the price of a month’s supply of insulin at a maximum of $35. Some diabetics should benefit from this from 2023, and the regulation should apply to everyone from 2024.

In the US, 7.4 million adults have diabetes that requires insulin injections. The cost of this treatment is eight times higher in the United States than in other industrialized countries, according to a 2020 study commissioned by the government. Other than that, medicines are sold at very high prices in the USA. At $11,000 per year, the country has the highest health care costs per capita in the world.

According to studies, in the past, more than a quarter of type 1 diabetics had to ration their insulin for cost reasons. According to activists, this proportion rose to up to 50 percent during the corona pandemic.

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The new legislative cap on insulin costs is also a step toward negotiating “lower drug prices beyond insulin,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The Senate is working across party lines on its own regulation that targets the intermediaries between health insurance companies and pharmacies.

Care of children with type 1 diabetes: pilot project leads to a care contract

The University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein ( UKSH ) and the AOK Northwest have concluded a care contract for the innovative care of children with type 1 diabetes. He transfers the positive results from the telemedicine project of the “Virtual Diabetes Outpatient Clinic for Children and Adolescents” ( ViDiKi ) to care.

According to the evaluation of the model project, the experts from the diabetes outpatient clinic at the UKSH in Lübeck and Kiel conducted almost 4,000 video consultations with the young patients and regularly evaluated their glucose levels. During online consultation hours, the parents and young people received tips on how to optimize their therapy and permanently improve their metabolic status. The 240 participating families all rated the offer as ‘very positive’.

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“The monthly video consultation had a very positive effect on the health prognosis of the children and young people. The metabolic status of the children was able to improve significantly after twelve months,” said the project manager, Simone von Sengbusch, diabetologist at the UKSH. The regular data discussion, guidance, and motivation had a better effect than just one personal appointment every quarter.

“The higher frequency of contact for therapy adjustment, high flexibility of appointments, and the enormous time savings were the biggest advantages of the project from the parents’ point of view,” says von Sengbusch.

In the contract that has now been concluded, the treating pediatric diabetologist regularly looks after the patients via telemedicine. “This only changes the form of contact, but not the treatment team. The necessary laboratory check, physical examination, and a longer discussion then take place as planned in the children’s diabetes consultation hour every quarter,” says von Sengbusch.

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