“We’ve engaged in discussions about the price of insulin with many 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 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.”
Lilly’s Insulin Lispro is one of many initiatives the company has introduced to deliver lower out-of-pocket options to people living with diabetes. After exploring the logistics and feasibility of an authorized generic, Lilly began preparing manufacturing, labeling, and shipping plans last year for the possibility of Lilly’s Insulin Lispro. People should call the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center at (833) 808-1234 to learn whether Lilly’s Insulin Lispro, or another option, is the best financial choice for them.
The list price of Lilly’s current Humalog presentations last increased in May of 2017.
Lilly Diabetes Solution Center, Other Actions Help Offset Costs
In addition to the introduction of Lilly’s Insulin Lispro, the company has taken several other steps to lower what people pay for insulin.
- In August 2018, the company launched the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center. Staffed by health care professionals, the Solution Center provides significant savings on Lilly insulins in multiple ways, including point-of-sale savings, access to donated Lilly insulin at more than 150 contracted free clinics, and options for people who have immediate needs. More than 10,000 people each month are paying significantly less for their Lilly insulin through the Solution Center and other offerings. Anyone who uses Lilly insulin can call the Solution Center at (833) 808-1234 (9 am to 8 pm EST Monday through Friday) to see whether there is a lower-cost alternative available for them.
- In December 2016, Lilly introduced the first follow-on biologic basal insulin in the U.S., at a reduced price compared to branded competition. In the two years since that launch, the net price per prescription for the class of basal insulins in the U.S. has decreased by approximately 30 percent.
- Lilly also donates to charitable organizations that provide free medicine, including insulin, to patients meeting program eligibility requirements. In the last five years, Lilly has donated more than 5.4 million insulin vials and pens in the U.S.
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.