Eli Lilly and Company has announced it would introduce a lower-priced version of Humalog® (insulin lispro injection 100 units/mL) in the United States — providing people with diabetes an insulin option that will have a list price 50 percent lower than the current Humalog list price.
“We’ve engaged in discussions about the price of insulin with any different stakeholders in America’s health care system: people living with diabetes, caregivers, advocacy groups, health care professionals, payers, wholesalers, lawmakers, and leading health care scholars,” said David A. Ricks, Lilly’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Solutions that lower the cost of insulin at the pharmacy have been introduced in recent months, but more people need help. We’re eager to bring forward a low-priced rapid-acting insulin.
“The significant rebates we pay on insulins do not directly benefit all patients. This needs to change,” Ricks said. “There are numerous ideas, including the rebate reform proposal from HHS. For people with diabetes, a lower-priced insulin can serve as a bridge that addresses gaps in the system until a more sustainable model is achieved.”
The lower-priced version will be called Insulin Lispro—the same molecule as Humalog—and will be available in vial and pen options. The list price of a single vial will be $137.35. The list price of a five-pack of KwikPens will be $265.20. Vials and pens of the lower-priced insulin have been manufactured, and Lilly will now work with supply chain partners to make them available in pharmacies as quickly as possible. It will be made available as an authorized generic through a Lilly subsidiary, ImClone Systems. Humalog will also remain available for people who want to continue accessing it through their current insurance plans. Introducing an alternative insulin option allows Lilly to provide a lower-priced insulin more quickly while providing payers time to renegotiate downstream contracts and adjust to new system economics.
“While this change is a step in the right direction, all of us in the health care community must do more to fix the problem of high out-of-pocket costs for Americans living with chronic conditions,” Ricks said. “We hope our announcement is a catalyst for positive change across the U.S. health care system.”
The cost of insulin can vary dramatically depending on a person’s insurance coverage. The vast majority of patients have flat co-pays and face lower out-of-pocket costs for insulin, so the price they pay at the pharmacy will not change. For people with high-deductible insurance plans, the uninsured, or people in the coverage gap of Medicare Part D, Lilly’s Insulin Lispro is another option that can make insulin more affordable.