Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) announced today that it plans to execute price reductions of 70% for its most commonly prescribed insulins.
Indianapolis-based Lilly also plans to expand its Insulin Value Program. This caps patient out-of-pocket costs at $35 or less per month.
The company said it took these actions to “help Americans” in a “complex healthcare system” that can keep them from receiving affordable insulin.
Actions taken by Lilly include cutting the list price of its non-branded insulin, Insulin Lispro Injection 100 units/mL. The cut brings the insulin to $25 per vial, effective May 1, 2023. Lilly said this makes it the lowest list-priced meal-time insulin available. The company said it costs less than a Humalog vial cost in 1999.
Lilly also plans to cut Humalog (100 units/mL), its most commonly prescribed insulin, and Humulin by 70%. These cuts go into effect in the fourth quarter of 2023.
The company said it intends to launch its Rezvoglar (insulin glargine-aglr) injection at $92 per five-pack of KwikPens on April 1. The basal insulin is a biosimilar to, and interchangeable with, the Lantus injection. At $92 per five-pack, it represents a 78% discount to Lantus.
Lilly addresses a system “that needs to change”
David A. Ricks, Lilly chair and CEO, said the current healthcare system fails to provide affordable insulin for everyone.
“That needs to change,” explained Ricks. “The aggressive price cuts we’re announcing today should make a real difference for Americans with diabetes. Because these price cuts will take time for the insurance and pharmacy system to implement, we are taking the additional step to immediately cap out-of-pocket costs for patients who use Lilly insulin and are not covered by the recent Medicare Part D cap.”
Lilly also plans to enforce an automatic out-of-pocket cost cap at $35 at participating retail pharmacies for those with commercial insurance using Lilly insulin. Those without insurance can go to InsulinAffordability.com and immediately download the Lilly Insulin Value Program savings card. With this, they may receive the company’s insulins for $35 per month.
The company said it plans to launch a nationwide public awareness campaign to ensure users understand how to access its insulin.
“We are driving for change in repricing older insulins, but we know that 7 out of 10 Americans don’t use Lilly insulin. We are calling on policymakers, employers and others to join us in making insulin more affordable,” said Ricks. “For the past century, Lilly has focused on inventing new and improved insulins and other medicines that address the impact of diabetes and improve patient outcomes. Our work to discover new and better treatments is far from over. We won’t stop until all people with diabetes are in control of their disease and can get the insulin they need.”
The American Diabetes Association applauds the decision
American Diabetes Association CEO Chuck Henderson lauded Lilly’s cost-cutting effort. He said in a statement that more manufacturers should follow suit. The ADA’s mission includes fighting for better accessibility to insulin for the millions of Americans with diabetes.
Henderson noted “significant progress” on insulin affordability to date. That includes Medicare’s out-of-pocket cost cap. However, he explained that the work remains far from finished.
“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,” Henderson said. “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.”
HHS secretary comments on Lilly’s decision
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra also gave a positive reaction to the news. This follows President Joe Biden’s calls to extend the $35 cap on insulin to all Americans to increase affordability.
“From Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration has worked to reduce the cost of health care and to increase Americans’ access to quality care,” Becerra said. “Last year, President Biden led a successful fight to cap insulin at $35 a month for people with Medicare. At his State of the Union, the President called for the cap to extend to all Americans. Today, the nation’s largest insulin manufacturer responded, announcing a historic drop in their price for insulin. President Biden’s leadership on drug pricing is having a ripple effect across America. Now it’s time for other drug manufacturers to join in. And it’s time for Congress to build on, not repeal, our new prescription drug law, the Inflation Reduction Act.”