Eli Lilly seeks to quell drug price anger with cheaper insulin

05 Mars, 2019, 04:39 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Lilly & Co. corporate headquarters in Indianapolis. Shares of Eli Lilly slipped in early trading Wednesday Feb. 6 2019 after the drugmaker announced fourth-quarter earnings that missed Wall Street exp

In a major victory for people with diabetes, Eli Lilly and Company announced Monday it will sell a lower-priced generic version of insulin.

Sanofi said its insulin products were provided to uninsured or commercially insured patients for half their list price under a program launched past year. A single vial will be sold for $137.35, and a five-pack of pens will go for $265.20, PBS said.

The average insulin price almost tripled from 2002 through 2013, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Lilly, Novo and Sanofi all heavily discount the price of many of their diabetes medications, and there is typically a wide difference in the list and net prices.

Lilly Chairman and CEO David Ricks said Monday in a blog post that the discounted insulin will be identical to Humalog, and it can address gaps in the current pricing system "until we have a more sustainable model". When she was first diagnosed at 14, the list price for the drug was $21 per vial.

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Two senators last month launched an investigation into rising insulin prices, writing to Lilly and other leading manufacturers, asking them why the cost of the almost 100-year-old medication had rapidly risen.

Lilly and other drugmakers have been targeted by protesters and taken heat over soaring prices for some of their products.

"What we have learned through this announcement is that lowering the cost of this important drug is much more doable than previously thought", said the Colorado Democrat, who chairs the House committee investigating the cost of insulin.

Wyden said that Lilly's move would be a part of the Senate Finance Committee's investigation.

The cost of insulin for treating type 1 diabetes in the United States almost doubled over a five-year period, underscoring a national outcry over rising drug prices, Reuters reported in January. Sens Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Whyden, D-Ore., released a joint statement saying the price of Humalog has increased from $35 in 2001 to $234 in 2015, a 585 percent increase.

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