Indianapolis, IN — Just last year, Eli Lilly cut the price of its most widely used insulin therapy, Humalog, in half. And it seems that may have been more than just a symbolic move, as demonstrated by Lilly’s decision last week to halve the prices of two more of its insulin therapies, which will be available at the major discount in April of this year.
In a statement, Mike Mason, head of Lilly diabetes, said, “Insurance coverage should ensure no one with diabetes is forced to ration or skip doses for financial reasons.”
Insulin manufacturers have been in the crosshairs of media and regulatory challenges for their steady and significant price increases in recent years. Insulin casts in particularly high relief the confusion and sometimes outrage around how list prices can be exponentially higher than the cost of manufacturing. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death across the globe. Some patients have died from rationing their insulin supplies due to financial strain.
Nonprofit generic drug manufacturer Civica Rx, in partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is getting ready to create less expensive, generic insulins and other drugs. Civica is currently researching which drugs are escalating premiums the most for patients with Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance plans. The Blue Cross-Civica venture’s Matthew Gibbs told Forbes that “Despite insulin being available for decades, current market pricing makes insulin difficult to afford for many patients right now,” and this effort has “the potential to tackle the ongoing insulin cost issue.”
Pharmaceutical companies across the globe are finding the channels through which they can get desperately needed treatments to patients in need at humane prices. In spite of the often-complicated health care system in the U.S., leaders are showing that they can break through in order to put the patient first. At the very start of 2020, Danish drug manufacturer Novo Nordisk announced that it would offer a one-time supply of insulin to U.S. patients in immediate need, for free.