New Authorized Generic is Lower-Cost Insulin

Contemporary Clinic Editorial Staff
Published Online: Monday, March 4th, 2019
Eli Lilly and Company today announced a lower-priced version of its insulin lispro injection (Humalog) 100 units/mL for the United States market. This medication, indicated for individuals with diabetes, will have a list price that is 50% lower than its current list price.

The lower-priced version will be called Insulin Lispro—the same molecule as Humalog—and will be available in vial and pen options. The list price of a single vial will be $137.35. The list price of a five-pack of pens by Eli Lilly will be $265.20.

"We've engaged in discussions about the price of insulin with many different stakeholders in America's health care system: people living with diabetes, caregivers, advocacy groups, health care professionals, payers, wholesalers, lawmakers, and leading health care scholars," said David A. Ricks, Lilly's chairman and CEO, in a prepared statement. "Solutions that lower the cost of insulin at the pharmacy have been introduced in recent months, but more people need help."

Vials and pens of the lower-priced insulin have been manufactured, and Lilly will now work with supply chain partners to make them available in pharmacies as quickly as possible, company officials said in a press release. The medications will be made available as an authorized generic option through a Lilly subsidiary, ImClone Systems.

The cost of insulin can vary dramatically depending on a person's insurance coverage. According to Eli Lilly, the vast majority of patients have flat co-pays and face lower out-of-pocket costs for insulin, so the price they pay at the pharmacy will not change. However, for people with high-deductible insurance plans, the uninsured, or people in the coverage gap of Medicare Part D, the authorized generic insulin provides an option that can make insulin more affordable.

According to Ricks, rebates currently paid on insulins do not directly benefit all patients.

“This needs to change," he said. "There are numerous ideas, including the rebate reform proposal from HHS."

Introducing an alternative insulin option allows Lilly to provide a lower-priced insulin more quickly while providing payers time to renegotiate downstream contracts and adjust to new system economics.

"While this change is a step in the right direction, all of us in the health care community must do more to fix the problem of high out-of-pocket costs for Americans living with chronic conditions," Ricks said. "For people with diabetes, a lower-priced insulin can serve as a bridge that addresses gaps in the system until a more sustainable model is achieved."


Reference

Lilly to Introduce Lower-Priced Insulin [news release]. Indianapolis, Indiana; March 4, 2019: Eli Lilly website. https://investor.lilly.com/news-releases/news-release-details/lilly-introduce-lower-priced-insulin. Accessed March 4, 2019.

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