Eli Lilly to cut some insulin prices and raise cost cap for insured patients
Eli Lilly will reduce the prices of some older insulins later this year and immediately increase the cap on the costs insured patients pay to fill prescriptions.
The measures announced Wednesday promise critical relief for some people with diabetes who may face annual costs of more than $1,000 for the insulin they need to live. Lilly’s changes also come as lawmakers and patient advocates pressure drugmakers to do something about soaring prices.
Lilly said it will cut the list price of its most commonly prescribed insulin, Humalog, and another insulin, Humulin, by 70% in the fourth quarter, which begins in September. The drugmaker did not specify what the new prices would be.
List prices are what a drugmaker initially sets for a product and what people who don’t have insurance or plans with high deductibles are sometimes forced to pay.
Patient advocates have long called for insulin price reductions to help uninsured people who would not be affected by price caps tied to insurance coverage.
Lilly’s planned cuts “could actually bring substantial relief to rice,” said Stacie Dusetzina, a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University who studies drug costs.
She noted that the moves are unlikely to affect Lilly much financially because the insulins are older and some are already facing competition.
“It’s easier for Lilly to move forward and make these changes,” she said.
Lilly also said Wednesday that it would reduce the price of its licensed generic version of Humalog to $25 a bottle starting in May.
The cost of a prescription for generic Humalog ranges from $44 to nearly $100 on the GoodRx website.
Lilly is also launching a biosimilar insulin in April to compete with Sanofi’s Lantus.
Lilly CEO David Ricks said in a statement that it will take time for insurers and the pharmacy system to implement its price cuts, so the drugmaker will immediately cap monthly outlays at $35. for people who are not covered by the Medicare prescription drug. program.
The drugmaker said the cap applies to people with commercial coverage and at most retail pharmacies.
Lilly said people without insurance can find savings cards to receive insulin for the same amount on its InsulinAffordability.com website.
The Huffington Gt