drug manufacturer Eli Lilly & Co. On Wednesday, it announced that it would reduce the prices of its most commonly prescribed insulins by 70% and limit monthly co-payments at certain retail pharmacies to $35 for people with private insurance.
Lilly will list its Lispro injection for $25 per vial effective May 1, and will drop the price of its Humalog and Humlin injections by 70% starting in the fourth quarter.
The announcement comes amid mounting federal pressure to reduce insulin costs. The Inflation Mitigation Act capped insulin prices for Medicare beneficiaries at $35 per month, but did not protect those with private or uninsured coverage from higher prices.
In President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, he called on Congress to cap insulin prices for everyone at $35 a month. Lilly said at the time that she supported extending the price cap to all Americans. Biden welcomed Lilly’s decision Wednesday and urged other drugmakers to follow suit.
Lilly said it will immediately cap the prime cost at certain retail pharmacies to $35 per month for people with private insurance. The company has a program that offers insulin to people who don’t have insurance for $35 a month. Those without insurance must visit Lilly’s website and download a discount card.
Lilly CEO David Ricks said in a statement that seven out of 10 Americans do not use the company’s insulin. He called on the government and employers to help make the cost of injections more affordable. Diabetes is a common condition that affects millions of Americans.
“That’s why I think this topic has been such a hot topic,” Ricks said in an interview with CNN. “And why insulin has become such a central issue in terms of drug affordability.”
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According to the American Diabetes Association, about 40% of people with diabetes have private insurance and 5% have no insurance. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in five diabetics who have private insurance pays more than $35 a month for insulin.
Congressional Democrats last summer pushed for a cap on insulin for people with private insurance to $35 a month, but Senate Republicans threw out 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 “federal mandates.”