Diabetes Community Reacts to Insulin Price Reduction by Eli Lilly and Company

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After Eli Lilly and Company announced major reductions in list prices for multiple insulin products, the community rejoiced at the though of taking a major step forward toward equitable access to insulin. Learn more about the reaction from major organizations and those within the field.

The diabetes community and others with a need to use insulin took a major step towards the goal of insulin for all on the morning of March 1, 2023.

In a historic move, Eli Lilly and Company announced it would be slashing the list prices of multiple insulin products within their portfolio by 70% and establishing a $35 per month out-of-pocket spending cap for those with commercial or no insurance, with all these changes expected to occur during 2023.1

After years of campaigning for more equitable access to insulin through major initiatives and campaigns, such as the Insulin for All movement, Lilly’s announcement, which comes just more than 2 months after a monthly cap on insulin spending for people with Medicare was implemented on January 1, serves as confirmation the community is making progress.

As expected, the move drew praise from major organizations and advocacy groups on the same day as the announcement from Eli Lilly and Company.

“Lilly’s move to apply a $35/month cap for people with private insurance will be a significant improvement for adults and children with diabetes who use Lilly’s products,” said Endocrine Society Chief Medical Officer Robert Lash, MD, chief medical officer of the Endocrine Society.2 “We encourage all insulin manufacturers to join in the effort to reduce out-of-pocket costs for people who need insulin.”

In their own statement, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) took a similar, celebratory tone and commended Eli Lilly and Company for taking what the organization called an “important step”.3

“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,” said Charles Henderson, chief executive officer of the ADA.3 “We 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.”

Before closing out their statement, the Endocrine Society underlined Eli Lilly and Company’s decision should become the standard, not the exception, if the community seeks to achieve equitable access to insulin, with the organization calling attention to a 2021 report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting 1.3 million insulin users rationed their supply in the past year.2

To learn more about the reaction from the diabetes community, check out this special edition episode of Diabetes Dialogue: Technology, Therapeutics, and Real-World Perspectives where hosts break down the new pricing, what it means for patients, and how they hope this move might spur further action from companies marketing insulin as well as first-line antidiabetes medications.

References:

  1. Lilly cuts insulin prices by 70% and caps patient insulin out-of-pocket costs at $35 per month. Eli Lilly and Company. https://investor.lilly.com/news-releases/news-release-details/lilly-cuts-insulin-prices-70-and-caps-patient-insulin-out-pocket. Published March 1, 2023. Accessed March 2, 2023.
  2. Endocrine Society. Endocrine society applauds Eli Lilly's efforts to lower insulin costs. Endocrine Society. https://www.endocrine.org/news-and-advocacy/news-room/2023/endocrine-society-applauds-eli-lillys-efforts-to-lower-insulin-costs. Published March 1, 2023. Accessed March 2, 2023.
  3. The American Diabetes Association statement on Eli Lilly's expansion of insulin value program. Eli Lilly Expansion of Insulin Value Program | ADA. https://diabetes.org/newsroom/press-releases/2023/american-diabetes-association-statement-on-eli-lilly-expansion-of-insulin-value-program. Published March 1, 2023. Accessed March 2, 2023.
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