On Monday, drugmaker Eli Lilly announced their plan to distribute a half-price form of Humalog, one of the most popular insulin injections on the market, when the firm defends criticism about growing drug costs in the US.
Many major drugmakers like Lilly have been criticized severely by lawmakers and patients over the increasing costs of the life-saving medications used for treating diabetes.
The rebranded product of Lilly will be named Insulin Lispro, while Humalog, which reaches up to $3 billion in yearly sales, still remains available for those patients who want to access it via the current insurance plans.
Other firms, including Sanofi, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Gilead Sciences, have also declared some price cuts over the past few years when the U.S authority increases inspection of the drug industry and expensive drugs are still a major concern for voters.
The cost of insulin to treat diabetes type 1 in the US has almost doubled over a 5-year period, which causes many patients to risk their own health by limiting the medication since they can’t afford these out-of-pocket costs.
The list price of Insulin Lispro for selling in the US would be around $137 per vial, the drugmaker Lilly announced, adding that would make insulin cheaper for uninsured sufferers or people with a high-deductible insurance plan.
“This announcement shows that Lilly has considered that the resultant effect of the launch will be economically impartial with the possibility of material political gains,” Andrew Baum – Citi analyst said.
The Indianapolis-based company said it had talked with different “stakeholders” about the prices of insulin, including lawmakers, wholesalers, advocacy groups, doctors, and diabetes patients.
“For patients with diabetes, lower-priced insulin products could bridge the gaps in the existing model until we can achieve a better and more sustainable system,” – said David Ricks – Lilly CEO.
Last month, two senators implemented an investigation into increasing insulin prices and wrote to Lilly and other leading manufacturers why the costs of this nearly 100-year-old drug had quickly risen. For instance, the price of Humalog increases up to 585% in the period of 2001 2015, from $35 to $234 each dose.
In the past, Lilly has mentioned that insulin is a highly-rebated product. Many drugmakers often claim they that have to keep its prices high due to after-market discounts or rebates they have to pay to health insurers and pharmacy benefit executives to get their products on the covered drug lists.
In January, the government introduced a rule to terminate the industry-wide model of rebates, an adjustment that Lilly said it could welcome.