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Congregational Oversight on the “The Need To Make Insulin Affordable for All Americans”

Part 1

The health issue of insulin’s affordability ignited heated debates in Washington, DC, on 10 May through the hearing from pharmaceutical and pharmacy benefit managers’ executives in the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. During the hearing, senators heard testimonies and questioned representatives of various insulin manufacturers, including Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi, amongst other leading pharmacy manufacturers (U.S. Senate Committee, 2023). (U.S. Senate Committee, 2023). This issue gained prominence on the policy agenda through various pathways supported by a wide range of evidence that necessitated congregational action. While all the factors provided in support of the affordability of insulin were efficient, the paths relating to the impact of health problems and the media coverage seemed to have strong convictions to prioritize the issue on the legislative agenda.

Impact of Health Problems

In addition, the high cost of insulin directly affects the health and well-being of diabetes patients, hence making it a strong reason for legislating insulin affordability. Being a life-sustaining medication, peoples’ access to insulin is vital in managing the condition. Otherwise, the patients tend to ration the drugs or even forgo the treatments, resulting in adverse health outcomes, complications, and increased healthcare costs in a long-run period when prices are high (U.S. Senate Committee, 2023). These impacts on health create a need to prioritize insulin affordability in the congregational agenda.

Media Coverage

One way of addressing the health issue related to insulin and its affordability is media coverage. Enhancing extensive media coverage would mean bringing health issues to the forefront of public and political attention. Regarding insulin affordability, media coverage helps to shed light on the challenges and struggles individuals face accessing this crucial medication (U.S. Senate Committee, 2023). Media coverage through investigation reports, public opinions, and human interest stories, among others, have significantly created awareness about the health issue, fueling support for legislative action. Based on the hearing, the two pathways have ignited considerably the need to prioritize and legislate insulin affordability.

Part 2

Among the witnesses included in the hearing, who listed about six testimonies, David Joyner, the executive vice president and president of pharmacy services of CVS Health, offered a commendable testimony. The witness described CVS Caremark’s efforts to address insulin affordability, highlighting how clients and plan members paid one-third less, on average, for a daily supply of insulin in 2022 compared to 2017. In his testimony, Joyner emphasized that the average member cost for a 30-day supply of insulin at CVS Caremark was less than $25, and for those using the preventive drug list was $0 (U.S. Senate Committee, 2023). The witness used this evidence to show how CVS Health negotiated and promoted the competition to lower the cost of insulin medication. However, Joyner did not specify the negotiations and progress towards reducing the price, including the breakdown of costs.

The lack of detailed information during the hearing made some of the aspects advocated need to be clarified. Regardless of some missing information, Joyner influenced future legislation on the health issue by expressing the need for reforms that balance supporting innovations in the pharmaceutical sector and ensuring affordability to Americans (U.S. Senate Committee, 2023). His emphasis on preserving incentives for research and development and acknowledging the need for affordability played a crucial role in the legislative action. Although Joyner’s testimony reflected their commitment to addressing the issue of insulin affordability, the lack of specific information, such as cost breakdown, raises questions on their extent to compromise. Their willingness to compromise should be shown by further clarification of their stance and the proposed legislative changes.

Part 3

Based on the hearing, senators presented varying perspectives on the teams responsible for the high insulin. While some senators aligned their views with the pharmaceutical companies’ perspectives, others supported the pharmacy benefit managers’ (PBMs) viewpoint. The executives from the pharmaceutical companies argued that the PBMs and other entities likely caused the rising prices. They emphasized consolidating the healthcare system (U.S. Senate Committee, 2023). On the other hand, the PBMs blamed the lack of competition among pharmaceutical companies. While both viewpoints impacted the rising insulin prices, they lack clarity on their plans to address the issue. The senator’s satisfaction with each witness’s viewpoints should depend on their plans to address the issue but not on blame or mere highlights of the contributing factors. The nature of the problem highly contributes to the diverse perceptions of the senators as divine action is required to address it. Therefore, the senator’s satisfaction should be based on the solution to the problem.


U.S. Senate Committee, (2023). The Need to Make Insulin Affordable for All Americans. U.S. Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor & Pension.


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