Insulin Cap Bill the Latest Action in Efforts to Slash Insulin Prices


Proposed legislation would cap the price of insulin at $35 for a 30-day supply.

A new bill to cap the price of insulin for all patients, whether they are insured or uninsured, follows announcements by the 3 major insulin manufacturers that they are significantly lowering insulin prices. In addition, California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state will make $30 insulin available through a contract with its manufacturer.1

Senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia)’s Affordable Insulin Now Act of 20232 would cap the price of insulin for all patients at $35 for a 30-day supply, Kennedy and Warnock’s offices said.3

In addition to requiring insurers to charge no more than $35 per month, the Affordable Insulin Now Act would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a program to reimburse qualifying entities for covering any costs that exceed $35 for providing a 30-day supply of insulin to uninsured patients.

“By making preventive care more accessible, this bill would reduce long-term health care costs for individual patients, avoid devastating complications from diabetes and take pressure off the entire healthcare system,” Kennedy said.

Insulin is a 100-year-old drug with a patent that was sold for $1, Warnock noted. “No one should feel forced to put their health or life in danger because they can’t afford their insulin.”

Meanwhile, as part of his tour of the State of California, Newsom announced4 that CalRx secured a contract with a manufacturer, Civica, to make $30 insulin available to all who need it. The move will bring down the price of insulin by about 90%, saving cash-paying patients between $2000 and $4000 annually, Newsom said.

"With CalRx, and unlike private companies, we’re getting at the underlying cost—the price is the price, and CalRx will prevent the egregious cost-shifting that happens in traditional pharmaceutical price games,” Newsom said. "It’ll cost us $30 to manufacture and distribute, and that’s how much the consumer can buy it for. You don’t need a voucher or coupon to access this price, and it’s available to everybody regardless of insurance plan.”

The agreement with Civica is part of the CalRx initiative, which also plans to make biosimilar insulins available for glargine, aspart, and lispro, which are expected to be interchangeable with Lantus, Humalog, and Novolog, respectively. California is investing $100 million into developing a biosimilar insulin product and building a drug manufacturing facility, Newsom’s office said.

Sanofi is the most recent pharma maker to announce it is significantly lowering insulin prices. Sanofi said it will cut the list price of insulin glargine injection (Lantus) 100 Units/mL, its most widely prescribed insulin in the United States, by 78%.4 The company also will establish a $35 cap on out-of-pocket costs for insulin glargine injection.

Sanofi will also cut the list price of its short-acting insulin glulisine injection (Apidra) 100 Units/mL by 70%. The changes go into effect January 1, 2024.

Novo Nordisk also recently said it is reducing the list prices of several insulin products by up to 75%,5 with the changes going into effect on January 1, 2024. The price cuts apply to both pre-filled pens and vials of basal (long-acting), bolus (short-acting) and pre-mix insulins—specifically insulin detemir (Levemir), Novolin, NovoLog and NovoLog Mix 70/30.

Novo Nordisk is also reducing the list price of unbranded biologics to match the lowered price of each respective branded insulin.

And Eli Lilly said in early March that it reduced the prices of several of its insulins by 70% and expanding its Insulin Value Program that caps patient out-of-pocket costs at $35 or less per month.6

1. Governor Newsom announced $30 insulin through CalRx. News release. Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. March 18, 2023. Accessed March 29, 2023.
2. Affordable Insulin Now Act of 2023. March 23, 2023. Accessed March 29, 2023.
3. Kennedy, Warnock introduce bipartisan bill to cap insulin prices, lower cost of diabetic care. News release. Senator John Kennedy. March 23, 2023. Accessed March 29, 2023.
4. Sanofi cuts U.S. list price of Lantus its most-prescribed insulin, by 78% and caps out-of-pocket Lantus costs at $35 for all patients with commercial insurance. News release. Sanofi. March 16, 2023. Accessed March, 29, 2023.
5. Novo Nordisk to lower U.S. prices of several pre-filled insulin pens and vials up to 75% for people living with diabetes in January 2024. News release. Novo Nordisk. March 14, 2023. Accessed March 29, 2023.
6. Lilly cuts insulin prices by 70% and caps patient insulin out-of-pocket costs at $35 Per Month. News release. Lilly. March 1, 2023. Accessed March 29, 2023.
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