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Eli Lilly to lower cost of insulin by 70%

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Eli Lilly & Company announced a 70% price drop in out-of-pocket insulin costs.

The Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company announced the price cut for its most prescribed insulins during a virtual news conference March 1. Effective immediately, the cut would cap out-of-pocket patient costs for insulin at $35 per month, said company chairman and CEO David Ricks.

This price cap will be available at participating retail pharmacies for those with commercial insurance using Lilly insulin. For those who don’t have insurance, Ricks said they can visit insulinaffordability.com to download the Lilly Insulin Value Program savings card to still purchase Lilly insulins for $35 per month.

“Essentially, the big news for people who live with diabetes who use insulin is that when they go to the pharmacy – a retail pharmacy, they shouldn’t pay more than $35,” said Michael Mason, Lilly executive vice president and president of Lilly Diabetes.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Eli Lilly was founded in 1876 and is one the largest insulin providers in the world. The company employs 11,000 workers in Indianapolis. It manufactures all its insulins in Indiana.

“While the current system largely ensures affordable access to insulin for most people with diabetes, a result of notable progress by the industry and by government, the system still does leave a few behind,” Ricks said. “This makes a tough disease like diabetes even harder to manage.”

Lilly started its insulin affordability journey in 2016 in an effort to provide “safe and more affordable products” by launching the first follow-on biologic insulin in the U.S. at a reduced price, Ricks said. Over the last five years, he said the average monthly out-of-pocket costs for Lilly insulin has decreased by 44%.

In 2023, that number is about $21.80 a month, which is the average consumers pay at the pharmacy counter and compares to almost $50 in 2017.

Ricks announced Eli Lilly will be making three more major changes in patient costs for insulin this year. Beginning May 1, the list price of Lilly’s non-branded insulin — Insulin Lispro — will be capped at $25 per vile, making it the cheapest mealtime insulin on the market to date.

By this fall, the price of Lilly’s biotech insulin Humalog (insulin lispro injection), which was launched in 1982, and its first analog insulin Humalin (insulin human), launched in 1996, will be cut by 70%.

Ricks said the company will also be launching Rezvoglar (insulin glargine-aglr) injection, which is a long-acting, man-made basal insulin. Ricks said Rezvoglar is biosimilar to and interchangeable with Lantus (insulin glargine) injection.

Lilly’s new generic insulin injection will be listed at $92 per pack of five KwickPens, which Ricks said is a 78% reduction to Lantus’ list price.

“Everything we’re doing today is solely to help people who live with diabetes who use our insulin,” Mason said. “Those that are exposed to higher out of pocket costs, understand what they need to do in order to pay $35 or less for insulin. Our teammates care and that’s the only reason why we’re doing what we’re doing today.”

Ricks also called on policymakers and other big pharmaceutical companies to follow their example and lower out-of-pocket costs for insulin and pass comprehensive solutions and public policies to “move the U.S. healthcare system from a series of patchwork solutions to systematic change that helps people access and afford their insulin.”

“As the recent pandemic has shown us, every country must ensure that patients have uninterrupted access to safe and reliable medicines, and Lilly is committed to that for insulin,” Ricks said. “In fact, Lilly is the only biopharmaceutical company that has end-to-end supply chain capability for insulin within the U.S. We can source and produce everything in the U.S., so we decrease the risk of Americans not having access to this life saving medication.”

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848 or chloegm@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.

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