The pharmaceutical giant announced a 70% price reduction for most of its commonly sold insulin.
Eli Lilly, one of the largest drug companies in the world and the biggest manufacturer of insulin in the United States, announced via press release1 on March 1, 2023, that they are slashing the prices of their most commonly sold insulins by 70% and capping the monthly out-of-pocket cost at $35 for people who use Lilly insulin.
"While the current health care system provides access to insulin for most people with diabetes, it still does not provide affordable insulin for everyone and that needs to change,” said Eli Lilly CEO David A. Ricks.1 “The aggressive price cuts we're announcing today should make a real difference for Americans with diabetes.”
The company is reducing the list price of its non-branded insulin, insulin lispro injection 100 units/mL to $25 a vial on May 1, 2023, cutting the list price of insulin lispro injection (Humalog) 100 units/mL and insulin human (Humulin) injection 100 units/mL by 70% sometime during Q4. The company is also launching insulin glargine-aglr (Rezvoglar) a biosimilar, interchangeable basal insulin to insulin glargine (Latnus) for $92 per 5-pack of pens, on April 1, 2023.
Drug companies like Eli Lilly have been under much public scrutiny recently, as insulin prices have skyrocketed in recent years—some increasing in price more than 1000% since the beginning of the 21st century, such as insulin lispro injection, which increased from $21 to $332 in just 20 years. “We are calling on policymakers, employers and others to join us in making insulin more affordable," said Ricks.
The $35 cap on monthly out-of-pocket insulin payments will apply to insured individuals who are using Lilly-branded insulin. For uninsured individuals, Ricks said they “can continue to go to InsulinAffordability.com and immediately download the Lilly Insulin Value Program savings card to receive Lilly insulins for $35 per month.”
In response to Eli Lilly’s announcement, President Joe Biden released a statement2 applauding the move, saying “It’s a big deal, and it’s time for other manufacturers to follow.”
Biden also questioned why insulin prices have become so inflated over the last few of years. “For far too long, American families have been crushed by drug costs many times higher than what people in other countries are charged for the same prescriptions. Insulin costs less than $10 to make, but Americans are sometimes forced to pay over $300 for it. It’s flat wrong.” Exactly a year ago, Biden campaigned for insulin prices to be capped at $35 in his first State of The Union address.
Roughly 8.4 million people in the United States use insulin, and a slash in prices will undoubtedly make the drug more accessible. The company said in the next few weeks they will be launching a public awareness campaign to help users understand their new rules. The other 2 largest insulin suppliers in the United States—Novo Nordisk and Sanofi—have neither commented on Eli Lilly’s decision nor pledged any decrease in insulin prices themselves.
1. Lilly cuts insulin prices by 70% and caps patient insulin out-of-pocket costs at $35 per month. News release. Eli Lilly. March 1, 2023. Accessed March 1, 2023. https://investor.lilly.com/news-releases/news-release-details/lilly-cuts-insulin-prices-70-and-caps-patient-insulin-out-pocket
2. Statement from President Joe Biden on action to lower insulin costs. News release. The White House. March 1, 2023. Accessed March 1, 2023. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/03/01/statement-from-president-joe-biden-on-action-to-lower-insulin-costs/