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Eli Lilly to slash insulin prices, cap out-of-pocket costs

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Posted at 8:54 AM, Mar 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-01 22:00:22-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Eli Lilly has announced plans to cut the price for insulin products later this year and immediately expand a spending cap for insured patients.

Lilly will have a price reduction of 70% for its most commonly prescribed insulins and will expand its Insulin Value Program that caps patient out-of-pocket costs at $35 or less per month.

"We think it's time to reduce out of pocket costs for insulin and have insurance work as intended, which is to shield people from their healthcare cost," David Ricks, Eli Lilly CEO, said.

The decision impacts customers with private insurance, no insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

According to a news release, the move was put in place to help people living with diabetes that often face annual costs of more than $1,000 for the life-saving insulin they need.

People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to survive. More than 8 million Americans use insulin, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Adriana Richard is a Type 1 diabetic.

"I have seen so many people have to ration their insulin and not be able to afford it. [They] choose between groceries or mortgage just because they can't afford it," Richard aid. "It was unexpected to wake up this morning and see [the news] everywhere. I definitely think it is a good first step for affordable insulin everywhere.

The cap applies to people with commercial coverage. If you have insurance, the company says the price will automatically be reduced at the pharmacy.

Lilly said people without insurance can find savings cards to receive insulin for the same amount at its website.

The federal government in January started applying that cap to patients with coverage through its Medicare program for people aged 65 and older.

"While we hope that Congress would pass a similar cap in the commercial market, it's a difficult political setup to pass anything, and why wait?" Ricks said. "We are at our own expense and effort providing a cap on Lilly insulin. That's what we can do."

Eli Lilly is one of the top three insulin makers. The company is calling on other providers to cut their costs and make insulin more affordable.

President Joe Biden took to Twitter to share appreciation for the news.

The American Diabetes Association provided the following statement to WRTV.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the leading voice advocating for insulin affordability and is working to ensure that all people with diabetes have access to the care they need. We applaud Eli Lilly for taking the important step to limit cost-sharing for its insulin, and we encourage other insulin manufacturers to do the same. While we have been able to help achieve significant progress on the issue of insulin affordability, including Medicare’s new out-of-pocket cost cap on insulin, state copay caps, and patient assistance developments from insulin manufacturers, we know that our work is not done. ADA will work to ensure that Eli Lilly’s patient assistance program is benefiting patients as intended and continue the fight so that everyone who needs insulin has access.” – Chuck Henderson, CEO of American Diabetes Association

Chuck Henderson, CEO of the American Diabetes Association