ELI Lilly will cut prices for some older insulins later this year and immediately expand a cap on costs insured patients pay to fill prescriptions.
The move was announced Wednesday promising critical relief to some people with diabetes who can face annual costs of more than $1,000 for insulin they need in order to live. Lilly’s changes also come as lawmakers and patient advocates pressure drugmakers to do something about soaring prices.
Lilly said it will cut the list price for its most commonly prescribed insulin, Humalog, and for another insulin, Humulin, by 70 percent in the fourth quarter, which starts in October. The drugmaker didn’t detail what the new prices would be.
List prices are what a drugmaker initially sets for a product and what people who have no insurance or plans with high deductibles are sometimes stuck paying.
Patient advocates have long called for insulin price cuts to help uninsured people who would not be affected by price caps tied to insurance coverage.
Lilly’s planned cuts “could actually provide some substantial rice relief,” said Stacie Dusetzina, a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University who studies drug costs.
She noted that the moves likely won’t affect Lilly much financially because the insulins are older and some already face competition.
Lilly also said that it will cut the price of its authorized generic version of Humalog to $25 a vial starting in May.
The cost of a prescription for generic Humalog ranges between $44 and close to $100 on the website GoodRx.
Lilly also is launching in April a biosimilar insulin to compete with Sanofi’s Lantus. The drugmaker said the cap applies to people with commercial coverage and at most retail pharmacies. (NPR)