Sen. Tester addresses prescription drug prices in Billings


With age usually comes more prescription drugs from doctors. In Montana where the Silver Wave is swelling the pool of retirees, the cost of health care is of particular interest to many.

Senator Jon Tester arrived in Billings Thursday to discuss a rare bit of legislation that could reduce the cost of some of the highest cost drugs covered under Medicare by phasing in a $2,000 cap on co-pay spending for certain drugs and limiting premium increases.

Under the Inflation Reduction Act passed in August, in 2023 Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes will see an insulin co-pay cap that will limit spending to $35 a month.

The cost of insulin, the medication used to manage the disease, has increased exponentially since it was invented in 1921. Inflation is expected, but now a single vile of insulin can cost up to $450 while the product itself hasn’t changed significantly over the years, said Lisa Ranes, manager of the Diabetes Endocrinology and Metabolism Center at Billings Clinic.

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“We see that our patients will stretch that insulin to meet their monthly budget. So they skip doses, they reduce their doses…that leads

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