Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. on Wednesday said it will cut prices of its most commonly prescribed insulins by 70% and cap monthly out-of-pocket costs at $35 at certain retail pharmacies for people who have private insurance.
Lilly will list its Lispro injection at $25 a vial effective May 1 and slash the price of its Humalog and Humlin injections by 70% starting in the fourth quarter.
The announcement comes amid growing federal pressure to lower the cost of insulin. The Inflation Reduction Act capped insulin prices for Medicare beneficiaries at $35 per month but did not protect people with private insurance or who don’t have coverage from higher prices.
In President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech, he called on Congress to cap insulin prices at $35 a month for everyone. Lilly said at the time that it supports extending the price cap to all Americans. Biden applauded Lilly’s decision on Wednesday and called on other drugmakers to follow suit.
Lilly said it will cap out-of-pocket costs at $35 per month effectively immediately at certain retail pharmacies for people with private insurance. The company has a program that offers insulin to people who are uninsured for $35 a month. People with no coverage have to visit Lilly’s website and download a discount card.
Lilly CEO David Ricks, in a statement, said seven out of 10 Americans don’t use the company’s insulin. He called on government and employers to help make the cost of the injections more affordable. Diabetes is a common condition that impacts millions of Americans.
“So that’s why this issue I think has been such a hot topic,” Ricks said in an interview with CNN. “And why insulin has become such a pivotal issue in terms of drug affordability.”
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About 40% of people with diabetes have private insurance and 5% are uninsured, according to the American Diabetes Association. One in five people with diabetes who have private insurance pay more than $35 per month for insulin, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Democrats in Congress had pushed to cap insulin at $35 per month last summer for people with private insurance, but Senate Republicans killed the measure. Rep. Cathy Rodgers of Washington, the Republican chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, dismissed Biden’s February call to cap prices for everyone as “socialist” and a “federal mandate.”