Eli Lilly Makes a 'Good Guy' Move on Insulin Prices

It's cutting list price for its most commonly prescribed insulin by 70%
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2023 8:06 AM CST
Eli Lilly Makes a 'Good Guy' Move on Insulin Prices
This April 26, 2017, file photo shows the Eli Lilly & Co. corporate headquarters in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

Some relief, at long last, for diabetics, who can pay as much as $1,000 a month for the insulin they require: Eli Lilly on Wednesday announced that it will be slashing insulin prices, some immediately and some later this year.

  • Lilly will cut the list price for its most commonly prescribed insulin, Humalog, and a second insulin, Humulin, by 70% as of Q4. It did not provide the new list prices.
  • It will cut the price of its authorized generic version of Humalog to $25 a vial starting in May.
  • Lilly CEO David Ricks said that because it'll take some time for insurers and the pharmacy system to put the new prices in place, the drugmaker will immediately cap monthly out-of-pocket costs at $35. USA Today notes that price will be honored at about 85% of pharmacies nationwide.
  • Those without insurance will get that $35 price if they sign up at Eli Lilly's InsulinAffordability.com site.

The price adjustments come as lawmakers and patient advocates have increasingly called out drugmakers over the skyrocketing price of insulin. The $35 price is already in play for some Americans. The Inflation Reduction Act recently imposed a $35 monthly cap on the out-of-pocket cost of insulin for seniors on Medicare Part D plans, and President Biden has asked Congress to expand the cap so it applies to younger Americans. Drugmakers may be seeing "the writing on the wall that high prices can’t persist forever," Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation tells the AP. "Lilly is trying to get out ahead of the issue and look to the public like the good guy."

NBC News reports Eli Lilly is one of three drugmakers—Novo Nordisk and Sanofi are the other two—that control most of the US insulin market, and it was the first to enter it: The company commercialized insulin in 1923, two years after University of Toronto scientists discovered it. Humulin and Humalog and its authorized generic brought in a total of more than $3 billion in revenue for Lilly last year. They rang up more than $3.5 billion the year before that. (A 2022 study found a staggering number of diabetics were forced to skip, delay, or decrease their use of insulin due its exorbitant price.)

Get breaking news in your inbox.
What you need to know, as soon as we know it.
Sign up
We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.