Travel to Receive Required Pharmaceuticals: A Look into Insulin Pricing in the United States, Canada, and Mexico

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Beam, Jaycie
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Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Business and economics , Diabetes Mellitus , Pharmacies , Insulins , Prescriptions
Insulin is crucial to human life. Without it, one would not be able to survive. When insulin is not produced, diabetes occurs. This is caused by a decrease in beta cell production, cells that specifically aid in the creation of insulin. Diabetes is prevalent in the United States and there is an increased need for insulin to be manufactured and affordable at lower prices for all individuals. An oligopoly of insulin manufacturers account for the majority of the world’s insulin production. Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi establish a strong competitive biopharmaceutical market for the production of insulin. Due to strong competition, insulin prices continue to rise with no relief in sight. While insulin is created in the same manner, packaged in the same vial and distributed by pharmacies, the price mark-up continues to skyrocket. Consequently, there is a strong locational impact regarding the purchase price of insulin among other pharmaceuticals for people with diabetes oftentimes resulting in individuals traveling to countries contingent to the United States in order to receive cheaper alternatives. It is noted that insulin prices in Canada and Mexico is cheaper and can be purchased without prescription. The insulin industry is heavily affected by these prices and continues to increase despite the growing need for reduced prices.