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Eli Lilly caps the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 a month, bringing relief to millions of Americans

Eli Lilly announced Wednesday it plans to cut the cost of its most popular insulin by 70%.
George Frey—Reuters

Key takeaways

  • As insulin prices have risen, 16.5% of users have rationed the drug to get by
  • Eli Lilly, a major insulin manufacturing company, announced Wednesday it will cut insulin prices by 70% 
  • The producer will further cap out-of-pocket monthly costs by $35 through its “Insulin Value Program”

Eli Lilly plans to cut costs on its most common insulin products by 70%, the company announced in a press release Wednesday. 

With the expansion of the company’s “Insulin Value Program,” launched in 2020, monthly out-of-pocket insulin products will cost no more than $35, aiding uninsured individuals. People who do not have insurance can access the company’s value program to learn more about how they can obtain insulin, per the press release. 

“Lilly is taking these actions to make it easier to access Lilly insulin and help Americans who may have difficulty navigating a complex health care system that may keep them from getting affordable insulin,” the press release reads. 

The pharmaceutical powerhouse, and first commercial insulin manufacturing company, has faced criticism over its products’ high prices. The company, along with other major manufacturers, has raised insulin prices by about 600% in the last two decades. High prices have led to major inaccessibility problems—16.5% of people, or about 1.3 million, prescribed insulin reported rationing it to get by, which can be deadly. The lack of affordability has led to widespread attention across social media. 

“While the current health care system provides access to insulin for most people with diabetes, it still does not provide affordable insulin for everyone and that needs to change,” says David A. Ricks, Lilly’s chair and CEO, in the press release. “The aggressive price cuts we’re announcing today should make a real difference for Americans with diabetes.” 

Over 37 million people have diabetes—amounting to over 10% of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 6 million people with diabetes use insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Eli Lilly plans to cut the cost of its Insulin Lispro Injection of 100 units/mL to $25 per vial beginning May 1. It also plans to reduce the price of its most common insulin, an insulin human injection of 100 units/mL2, by 70% beginning in quarter four of 2023. The company additionally announced the launch of another insulin at a discounted price for a pack of five available next month. 

“We are driving for change in repricing older insulins, but we know that seven out of 10 Americans don’t use Lilly insulin. We are calling on policymakers, employers and others to join us in making insulin more affordable,” says Ricks.

Other insulin manufacturing companies include Novo Nordisk and Sanofi

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