Low-cost insulin for socially at-risk patients: evidence for effectiveness

Link to article at PubMed

Am J Manag Care. 2021 Jun;27(6):227-232. doi: 10.37765/ajmc.2021.88662.


OBJECTIVES: The price of analogue insulin has increased dramatically, making it unaffordable for many patients and insurance carriers. By contrast, human synthetic insulins are available at a fraction of the cost. The objective of this study was to examine whether patients with financial constraints were more likely to use low-cost human insulins compared with higher-cost analogue insulins and to determine whether outcomes differ between users of each type of insulin.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

METHODS: Analysis of 4 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was performed. Adults with diabetes who reported use of insulin were included. The primary outcome was use of human insulin or analogue insulin. The dependent variable was self-reported financial constraints, a composite variable. Secondary analysis examined the association between use of human vs analogue insulin and patient outcomes.

RESULTS: Of 22,263 eligible respondents, 698 (3.1%) reported use of insulin and the type of insulin used, representing 485,228 patients nationally. Patients with 1 or more financial risk factors were more likely to use human insulin compared with patients without any financial risk factors (88.5% vs 76.7%; P = .014). There was no association between use of human vs analogue insulin on diabetic or other patient outcomes among patients regardless of financial risk.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with financial risk factors may be more likely to use low-cost human synthetic insulins compared with insulin analogues. Outcomes were similar, even when stratified by financial risk.

PMID:34156215 | DOI:10.37765/ajmc.2021.88662

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