Facing pressure from lawmakers about the prices of their drugs, some pharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to make their products more affordable and more accessible.
Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) said yesterday that it is teaming up with CVS Health‘s (NYSE:CVS) new prescription savings program, Reduced Rx, to offer discounts on its insulin. The company’s insulin will be sold for $25 per 10 milliliter vial, which Nordisk said reflects a savings of as much as $100 for patients that pay with cash.
“We developed the Reduced Rx prescription savings program with Novo Nordisk because we both recognized a need and an opportunity to make critical medications more affordable for patients,” CVS Health’s exec VP & chief operating officer Jonathan Roberts said in prepared remarks. “This savings program will leverage CVS Caremark’s expertise in providing lower cost prescription drugs and fulfill our company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”
Following its initial dealings with Nordisk, CVS Health said it plans to extend the prescription savings program to other medications.
“This program underscores how important collaboration is to addressing the affordability challenges patients face in certain health plans or who remain uninsured. We all have a role to play and that’s why we welcomed the chance to work with CVS Health on this program,” Nordisk’s senior VP & head of U.S. operations Doug Langa added. “We’re committed to developing sustainable solutions with customers and will continue to pursue opportunities to ensure that patients have access to insulin that is affordable.”
The companies clarified that the under the program, patients can only pay out-of-pocket – it cannot be used with prescription drug insurance coverage.
Insulin makers have come under fire in recent months over their pricey insulin products. In January, a class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts alleged that insulin makers Nordisk, Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) and Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) conspired to raise their list prices to get access to pharmacy benefit managers’ preferred lists, instead of competing with each other based on real market prices.
In the last 5 years, the 3 companies have raised the sticker prices on their drugs by more than 150%, according to the lawsuit. A recent study by the American Medical Association demonstrated that the price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013.
Some of the lawsuits’ plaintiffs pay almost $900 each month for their diabetes medications, according to the firm representing the patients, Hagens Berman.