An Insulin drugmaker announced it is making its drug more affordable for some diabetics and is capping the out-of-pocket cost at $35 per month. Eli Lilly is making Insulin immediately available to seniors on Medicare. It’s welcome news to the many Americans who rely on insulin, as the cost of care has soared in recent years.
The company is automatically applying the price cap for Insulin to seniors who have private insurance and those without can sign up for Eli Lilly’s copay assistance program to qualify. The cap applies to all of Eli Lilly’s insulin products, Kelly Smith, a spokesperson for the company, told NBC News, adding that the company will decrease the cost for additional insulting products later this year.
“While the current healthcare system provides access to insulin for most people with diabetes, it still does not provide affordable insulin for everyone and that needs to change,” David A. Ricks, Lilly’s Chair and CEO, said in an Eli Lilly news release. “The aggressive price cuts we’re announcing today should make a real difference for Americans with diabetes.”
The Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law in August of last year requiring a $35 cap for those 65 and older but received pushback from Republicans in Congress to make Insulin affordable for all Americans. Republicans argued that the price cap didn’t address the main problem, saying by maximizing the cost at $35, it would pass the premium cost to insurance companies.
According to the American Diabetes Association, the price tag associated with the life-saving drug is 10 times higher than in any other country even though more than 37 million Americans, or 11% of the population, are diagnosed with diabetes.
What’s historically been an exorbitant cost of Insulin has meant that as many as one in four Americans have reported rationing their Insulin or skipping doses altogether, the association reported. Some diabetics have been “putting themselves at risk for serious and even deadly complications.”
Eli Lilly said in its news release that it will also cut the price of its non-branded insulin, Insulin Lispro Injection, to $25 per vial effective on May 1, 2023, and will be cutting the cost of Humalog by 70% in the fourth quarter of this year. The company is calling on other insulin manufacturers to follow suit by providing access to millions of Americans nationwide.
“We are calling on policymakers, employers, and others to join us in making insulin more affordable,” Ricks said in the release. “For the past century, Lilly has focused on inventing new and improved insulins and other medicines that address the impact of diabetes and improve patient outcomes.
“Our work to discover new and better treatments is far from over. We won’t stop until all people with diabetes are in control of their disease and can get the insulin they need.”
Updated 3/1/2023 10:45 a.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information from Eli Lilly.