Buying insulin has become a lot cheaper. Drugmaker Eli Lilly cut list prices by 70 percent for its most commonly prescribed forms of insulin, Humalog and Humulin.
The Big Pharma company seems to have caved into the criticism of healthcare companies by lawmakers over the rising costs of insulin.
Effective May 1, the drugmaker also lowered the price of its non-branded insulin injection Lispro to $25 a vial and expanded its Insulin Value Program, under which the $35 cap will apply to about 85 percent of pharmacies in the country, according to a press release from the company.
Drugmakers previously priced insulin at more than $275 a vial, The Guardian reported. This represented a 1,200 percent increase in price over the past 20 years, according to the advocacy group Insulin Initiative.
Many Americans find the price of insulin prohibitive. In fact, more than 1 million Americans rationed insulin because of high costs. About 8.4 million of the 37 million people in the U.S. with diabetes use insulin, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Black people have higher rates, with 12.1 percent of non-Hispanic Black Americans suffering from diabetes. Meanwhile, 7.4 percent of non-Hispanic whites have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Eli Lilly, along with Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, comprise 90 percent of the U.S. market for insulin.
“While we could wait for Congress to act or the healthcare system in general to apply that standard, we’re just applying it ourselves,” the company’s chief executive, Dave Ricks, told CNN in an interview.
But there are indications the move by Eli Lilly was not purely altruistic. There will be more demand for the product in the future.
“As more diabetic patients rely on insulin for treatment, there is an increasing need for insulin…This has led to increasing competition among market players to develop new insulin drugs in the market,” stated The Global Insulin Market 2023-2030, published recently by Coherent Market Insights.
Some states have taken action to ensure the price of insulin will be affordable, regardless of what the pharmaceutical companies decide.
Insulin prices for uninsured New Yorkers are now capped at $35 per month under a deal made between two top drugmakers and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office.
Insulin sold by Eli Lilly and Sanofi-Aventis will have a price cap for five years. About 464,000 New Yorkers rely on insulin daily, and 1 million people in the state are uninsured, according to James and the Community Service Society.
“Life-Saving medication should be affordable and accessible for all New Yorkers regardless of their income or insurance status,” James said in a statement.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-woman-using-an-insuling-injection-pen-7653660/