pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company said Wednesday that it would cut the prices of its most commonly prescribed insulin by 70% and the monthly out-of-pocket cost at some retail pharmacies to $35 for those with private insurance.
Lilly will list its Lispro injection at $25 per vial effective May 1 and will reduce the price of Humalog and Humaline injections by 70% starting in the fourth quarter.
The announcement comes amid growing federal pressure to reduce the cost of insulin. The Inflation Reduction Act capped insulin prices at $35 per month for Medicare beneficiaries, but did not protect those with private insurance or who do not have coverage from higher prices.
In President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech, he called on Congress to cap insulin prices at $35 a month for everyone. Lilly said at the time that it supports expanding the price cap to all Americans. Biden on Wednesday applauded Lilly’s decision and called on other drugmakers to follow suit.
Lilly said it would cap the cost at some retail pharmacies at $35 a month, effective immediately, for those with private insurance. The company has a program that provides insulin to people who don’t have insurance for $35 a month. Those without coverage will need to 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 issue has been such a hot topic,” Ricks said in an interview with CNN. “And why insulin has become such an important 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% are uninsured. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in five people with diabetes who have private insurance pays more than $35 a month for insulin.
Democrats in Congress pushed to cap insulin at $35 per month last summer for people with private insurance, but Senate Republicans killed the measure. Rep. Cathy Rodgers of Washington, Republican chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, dismissed Biden’s February call to cap prices for everyone as “socialist” and a “federal mandate.”