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Lilly extends range of cut-price insulins in the US

Announces discounts in response to increasing pricing criticism

Eli Lilly logo

Eli Lilly has said it will launch lower-cost options for two more of its insulin products, a few months after reducing a half-price version of its widely-used Humalog brand.

Cheaper, authorised generic versions of Lilly’s Humalog Junior KwikPen and Humalog Mix75/25 products – priced at $265.20 for a pack of five which is another 50% reduction on the list price of the branded drugs – will be available in April, according to the company.

“With these new options, more than 90% of people using a Humalog formulation will have access to a lower-priced version that may reduce their out-of-pocket costs,” it said in a statement.

Lilly and other insulin manufacturers Sanofi and Novo Nordisk have been making cheaper products available in response to an increasing public outcry about the escalating cost in insulin therapy for diabetes in the US.

The reductions come after the average wholesale price of four of the most popular insulins more than tripled between 2007 and 2017, forcing some patients to ration doses. And that has drawn the ire of politicians who have suggested the close parity of pricing for insulin products could indicate manufacturers are colluding to keep prices high.

Lilly came under particularly strong criticism after the price of Humalog rose from $35 to $234 per vial between 2001 and 2015, and lawmakers have lost patients with the blame game between producers and pharmacy-benefit managers.

Patient groups have also complained of difficulties getting hold of Lilly’s first authorised generic Humalog however, and have accused the company of carrying out a public relations stunt by trumpeting a cheaper product that is scarcely available.

Lilly claims that “all major US wholesalers now distribute Lispro and it can be ordered by any pharmacy, usually in 1-2 days”, and that more than 95% of people using Humalog pay less than $100 for their monthly prescription at retail pharmacies because of their insurance coverage or one of Lilly’s affordability schemes.

It says it has already started negotiations with wholesalers and payers to make the additional lower-priced insulins available as well.Mike Mason

“Lilly is committed to offering the broadest suite of solutions for people who need help affording their insulin, and our lower-priced insulins are important options,” said Mike Mason (pictured left), president of Lilly Diabetes.

“But real change to our reimbursement system is needed. Insurance coverage should ensure no one with diabetes is forced to ration or skip doses for financial reasons,” he added.

Last month, the Trump administration published draft guidance which would allow states in the US to import prescription drugs from Canada to try to reduce medicine prices, but that plan excludes biologics including insulin as well as intravenous drugs and controlled substances.

Article by
Phil Taylor

15th January 2020

From: Marketing

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