Eli Lilly will cut prices for most of its insulins in the US by 70% and cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 per month, the company announced on March 1.
"Lilly is taking these actions to make it easier to access Lilly insulin and help Americans who may have difficulty navigating a complex healthcare system that may keep them from getting affordable insulin," the company said in a statement.
The $35 price cap is effective immediately at participating retail pharmacies for people with commercial insurance. Those without insurance can go to InsulinAffordability.com and download the Lilly Insulin Value Program savings card to receive Lilly insulins for $35 per month.
The company says it will cut the list price of its nonbranded Insulin Lispro Injection 100 units/mL to $25 a vial, effective May 1, 2023. The list price of the branded Humalog (insulin lispro injection) 100 units/mL will be cut by 70%, effective in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Lilly is among the three main companies that manufacture insulin, along with Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, that have come under fire over the cost of insulin in the US. Studies have shown that up to 25% of people with type 1 diabetes ration insulin because of costs, putting their health and often their lives in jeopardy.
Prices in the US are around 10 times higher than in other countries. California is the latest state to say it plans to sue these big three companies over the high price of insulin and has announced plans to make its own cheaper versions.
Asked at a telephone press briefing if the lawsuit prompted the company's move, Lilly chair and CEO David A. Ricks said, "Of course there are complaints against the industry and the company. We see those as completely unfounded. However, we can probably all agree that patients should have a consistent and lower-cost experience at the pharmacy counter, and that's what today's announcement is about. We're doing this completely voluntarily because it's time and it's the right thing to do."
On hearing the company announcement, Laura Nally, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist living with type 1 diabetes, @drnallypants, tweeted: "YES. After years of advocacy, the list price of Lispro/Humalog is now similar to what it was in the late 1990s." Cheers to all the #pwd [people with diabetes] who have advocated through #insulin4all! But we still have work to do to improve access to other diabetes medications & supplies."
#insulin4all is a worldwide campaign to ensure that people with type 1 diabetes have access to affordable insulin and other supplies needed to manage the condition, such as glucose strips. It is supported, among others, by the advocacy group T1International.
ADA, Endo Soc Applaud Lilly, but Work on Pricing Remains
Also giving his reaction to the Lilly announcement, Chuck Henderson, CEO of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), said: "We applaud Eli Lilly for taking the important step to limit cost-sharing for its insulin, and we encourage other insulin manufacturers to do the same.
"While we have been able to help achieve significant progress on the issue of insulin affordability, including Medicare's new out-of-pocket cost cap on insulin, state copay caps, and patient assistance developments from insulin manufacturers, we know that our work is not done," he added.
"ADA will work to ensure that Eli Lilly's patient assistance program is benefiting patients as intended and continue the fight so that everyone who needs insulin has access."
And Endocrine Society Chief Medical Officer Robert Lash, MD, said: "Lilly's move to apply a $35/month cap for people with private insurance will be a significant improvement for adults and children with diabetes who use Lilly's products.
"We encourage all insulin manufacturers to join in the effort to reduce out-of-pocket costs for people who need insulin."
Lilly will also launch a new insulin biosimilar, Rezvoglar (insulin glargine-aglr) injection, which is similar to and interchangeable with insulin glargine (Lantus). The cost will by $92 for a five pack of KwikPens, a 78% discount compared to the cost of Lantus, beginning April 1, 2023.
More information is available on Lilly.com/insulin.
Miriam E. Tucker is a freelance journalist based in the Washington DC area. She is a regular contributor to Medscape, with other work appearing in the Washington Post, NPR's Shots blog, and Diabetes Forecast magazine. She is on Twitter @MiriamETucker.
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Cite this: Lilly Cuts Insulin Price by 70%, Caps Out-of-Pocket Cost - Medscape - Mar 01, 2023.