March 1, 2023 – Eli Lilly will cut prices for most of its insulins in the United States by 70% and cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 per month, the company announced on Wednesday.
“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 non-branded Insulin Lispro Injection 100 units/mL to $25 a vial, effective May 1. 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 make insulin, along with Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, who have come under fire for the cost of it in the U.S., with studies showing that up to 25% of people with type 1 diabetes ration insulin due to costs, putting their health and often their lives in jeopardy.
Prices in the U.S. 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.
Many people on Twitter praised the news, using the hashtag "#insulin4all" in their posts. The hashtag #insulin4all is a worldwide campaign to ensure 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 T1International advocacy group, which has a U.S.-specific website. Some patients with type 2 diabetes are also insulin-dependent.
Asked at a telephone news briefing if the California 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.”
ADA Applauds Lilly, but Says Work on Insulin Pricing Remains
Also giving his reaction to the Lilly announcement, American Diabetes Association CEO Chuck Henderson 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 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.”
For more information, go to Lilly.com/insulin.