As insulin makers face mounting pressure on the price of insulin, Eli Lilly announced Wednesday that it plans to cut prices Up to 70% on its most commonly prescribed insulin products and caps customers’ out-of-pocket costs at $35 per month for those with commercial insurance who use its insulin.
But for some, change comes too late. Nicole Smith-Holt said cost of insulin directly succeeded by her son, Alec Smith, who died in 2017 After rationing your insulin.
“I think if insulin had cost $35 in 2017, Alex would still be alive today,” she told CBS News.
About 8.5 million diabetic Americans rely on insulin to control their blood sugar levels. almost all supplies come from three companies and the average cost of medicine That has more than tripled in this century. A 2021 study says high costs have forced more than one million Americans to do so ration their dosewhich can be fatal.
Smith was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as he was getting ready to turn 24, then dropped out of his mother’s insurance plan at age 26. Holt.
She said that when her son was covered by her insurance, insulin was expensive but affordable. When he didn’t, he was asked to pay $1,300 a month for insulin, which resulted in him rationing the insulin he had left.
Smith-Holt said “he went on like this for about four and a half days” before his body was found.
Eli Lilly’s Humalog, the prescribed insulin product Smith was taking, cost $21 a vial when it hit the market in 1996. It has since increased to $274.70, and will be reduced to $66.40 when the new price changes take effect.
Shortly after Smith’s death, Smith-Holt began advocating on behalf of families who have lost loved ones to the cost of insulin.
He also pushed lawmakers in Minnesota in 2020 to sign the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, which would allow diabetics with less than seven days’ worth of insulin to pay $35 to obtain a one-time, 30-day supply. Insulin allows.
Smith-Holt calls the cost-cutting measures a victory for advocacy and a “step in the right direction.” But he is skeptical of the news and believes there has to be a permanent solution in the form of a federal bill to cap insulin prices for all.
Smith-Holt said, “I am concerned… once the focus shifts away from insulin and the cost of insulin, we will see prices go back to where they were.”
Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks said the company “has not guaranteed” that prices will not rise again in the future.
“But what I will say is this: over the past five years, we have stabilized these prices and cut them down,” he said. “It’s a dramatic reduction, but the trend is definitely down, except for our latest products.”
“We are researching new insulins and many people with diabetes will say they need a better one,” he said.