Lilly to launch half-price version of insulin

Pearl Mccarthy
March 7, 2019

Two U.S. senators last month launched an investigation into rising insulin prices, writing to Lilly and two other leading manufacturers, asking them why the cost of the almost 100-year-old medication had rapidly risen.

In a major victory for people with diabetes, Eli Lilly and Company announced Monday it will sell a lower-priced generic version of insulin.

The company said it will work to make the new, cheaper insulin available as soon as possible. A single vial will be sold for $137.35, and a five-pack of pens will go for $265.20, PBS said.

Organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, have been pressuring the pharmaceutical industry to lower the price of insulin.

The soaring cost of insulin has been the focus of recent campaigns that highlight how patients struggle to afford the medicine they need to live.

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"The substantial increase in the price of insulin has caused significant concern among patients and Congress", the senators said. Now Eli Lilly is lowering the price in the US for selected customers to $140. Name-brand Humalog will continue to be sold at its regular price, $275 per vial, "to the insurers and employers who want to keep pocketing the large discounts, or rebates, they receive for purchasing brand-name drugs", the Times' Thomas said.

Mike Mason, Lilly's senior vice president of connected care and insulins, told Business Insider that what he's seen is that about 95% of patients pay less than $100 a month for insulin at the pharmacy counter, while about 5% are on the hook for more. In the two years since that launch, the net price per prescription for the class of basal insulins in the USA has decreased by approximately 30 percent.

The move comes after lawmakers on Capitol Hill started an investigation into pharmaceutical companies' drug pricing, particularly their decisions on insulin, a life-saving treatment for diabetics. The list price of a drug is not necessarily what patients actually pay. For people with high-deductible insurance plans, the uninsured, or people in the coverage gap of Medicare Part D, Lilly's Insulin Lispro is another option that can make insulin more affordable.

About Lilly DiabetesLilly has been a global leader in diabetes care since 1923, when we introduced the world's first commercial insulin. For more information, visit www.lillydiabetes.com or follow us on Twitter: @LillyDiabetes and on Facebook: LillyDiabetesUS.

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