Published: Thu, March 07, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Lilly offers half-price insulin in counter to drug cost pressure

Lilly offers half-price insulin in counter to drug cost pressure

Two U.S. senators last month launched an investigation into rising insulin prices, writing to Lilly and two other leading manufacturers, asking them why the cost of the almost 100-year-old medication had rapidly risen.

USA drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co plans to sell a half-price version of its Humalog insulin injection, as it fends off criticism about rising drug prices. The new product will be called Lispro and sold by ImClone Systems, an Eli Lilly subsidiary. The list price of a single vial will be $137.35. "We're eager to bring forward a low-cost rapid-acting insulin".

"We're eager to bring forward a low-cost, rapid-acting insulin", said Eli Lilly Chairman and CEO David A. Ricks.

"Charging nearly $140 for a vial of insulin - a drug that was invented almost a century ago - is still too high", Ben Wakana, executive director of the nonprofit Patients For Affordable Drugs, said in a statement Monday.

Drug-maker Eli Lilly is coming out with a half-priced version of its popular insulin Humalog.

Lilly's move is one of the first by a major drugmaker to offer a cut-price version of a major product, and could put pressure on other pharmaceutical companies to do the same.

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Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the committee, was more blunt, tweeting "there will be a lot of PR acrobatics about generic insulin" and that he will not stop investigating why companies keep raising the price of "a decades-old drug".

"The significant rebates we pay on insulins do not directly benefit all patients".

Sanofi's CEO said in his testimony that the average net price of Lantus, the company's most prescribed insulin, has fallen by more than 30 per cent since 2012, yet out-of-pocket costs for patients with commercial insurance and Medicare have increased about 60 per cent.

The cost of insulin can vary dramatically depending on a person's insurance coverage.

In 2012, Marston lost her job and found herself paying the full list price for Humalog, a life-saving medication used by people with diabetes to help process sugar found in the blood. Today we are building upon this heritage by working to meet the diverse needs of people with diabetes and those who care for them. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.

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