Starting January 1, people who pay the highest out-of-pocket prices for insulin, such as those who pay full retail price at the pharmacy, may directly benefit from 40 percent discount.
Eli Lilly and Company today announced that people who use Lilly insulin will be able to access discounted prices for their purchases starting January 1, 2017 via mobile and web platforms hosted by Blink Health. The discounts, provided by Lilly through a partnership with Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX), may reduce costs for people who pay full retail prices at the pharmacy, such as those who have no insurance or are in the deductible phase of their high-deductible insurance plans.
Changes in insurance benefit design have increased the cost of insulin for some people. While discounts and rebates paid by manufacturers make insulin affordable for most people, they don’t directly help the uninsured or people in the deductible phase of their high-deductible plans. And while some high-deductible plans exempt insulin from the deductible phase, others require people to pay most or all of the retail price until the deductible is met – meaning these people don’t fully benefit from rebates when they visit the pharmacy.
By using the Blink Health platforms, people who pay full price for most Lilly insulins may save 40 percent. This discount program will be the first time branded medicines will be discounted via the Blink Health platform, which has previously only been used for generic prescription drugs.
“We understand the burden people face when paying full price for insulin,” said Mike Mason, vice president, Lilly Diabetes. “This platform will effectively allow Lilly to lower our insulin retail prices for users of this platform while not affecting the reimbursement system for other people living with diabetes.”
Lilly has met with multiple leaders in the diabetes community, including leading advocacy groups and people with diabetes, about the price of insulin for several months. Lilly and Express Scripts started working on options for people who pay full retail price earlier this fall. Enrique Conterno, president of Lilly Diabetes, said today’s announcement will hopefully drive additional change within the health care system for people who use insulin.
“The health care system is incredibly complex, and we hope this program is a first step that will drive more thinking and innovative solutions for people with diabetes,” Conterno said. “A more extensive solution will require leadership and cooperation across many stakeholders, including manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, insurers and patients. We’re committed to seeking additional solutions so that everyone who uses insulin has reasonable access.”
The starting point of the offer will coincide with the new deductible period for many health plans on January 1, 2017. The program includes all presentations of Humalog® (insulin lispro injection 100 units/mL) available at pharmacies, all Humulin® U100 formulations (insulin human injection 100 units/mL), and BASAGLAR® (insulin glargine injection 100 units/mL), a long-acting follow-on biologic being introduced this month by Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim.
People who use the platform will go outside their health plan to realize the savings, which means the new retail price may not be applied to annual deductibles. Anyone considering the platform should compare the benefits to their current prescription insurance options before deciding which program is best for them.
How does it work?
Program participation requires only a few simple steps. People can use a smart phone app or the Blink Health website, www.blinkhealth.com, which has no membership fees or monthly premiums. People will enter the form, dosage and quantity of Lilly insulin that matches their prescription. The discount will be automatically applied. Payments are made online and the prescriptions can be picked up at virtually any U.S. pharmacy, including: Walgreens, CVS/pharmacy, Target, RiteAid, Safeway and Kroger. People whose prescription claims are reimbursed by any government program are not eligible. Purchases are fully refundable.
Lilly will keep the public updated on details of the program through our Twitter handles, @LillyDiabetes and @LillyPad, and other digital channels.