Lilly Announces Lower List price for Insulin Lispro
Editor’s Note: People who take insulin require consistently affordable and predictable sources of insulin at all times. If you or a loved one are struggling to afford or access insulin, you can build custom plans based on your personal circumstances through our tool: GetInsulin.org.
On September 28, 2021, Eli Lilly announced the company will lower the list price of Insulin Lispro in the U.S. by an additional 40 percent starting January 1, 2022.
The new list price for Insulin Lispro Injection will be $82.41 for individual vials and $159.12 for a pack of five pens—70 percent less than Lilly’s branded Humalog counterparts with current list prices of $274.40 per vial and $530.40 for a five-pack of pens.
Originally introduced in March of 2019, Insulin Lispro is the generic version of Humalog and is identical to the branded drug in structure and function. In the simplest of terms, It is the same exact insulin in a differently-labeled bottle.
It was unclear at the time of launch how many would benefit from the introduction of the half-priced generic, but today’s press release sheds some light on that figure. According to Lilly, “Approximately one in three prescriptions for Lilly’s U-100 mealtime insulin—Lilly’s most commonly used insulin formulation—is for Insulin Lispro Injection.”
Who will benefit?
It is important to note that for many insulin users in the United States, there remain cheaper options than Insulin Lispro. The Lilly Insulin Value Program covers most Lilly insulins for $35 a month for many with commercial insurance and those who are uninsured.
The greatest benefits will be seen by people who may not qualify for copay cards or insulin savings options, people with high-deductible health plans, and people with government insurance. Additionally, those who pay cash for their insulin (including some undocumented people living with diabetes in the U.S.) may find Insulin Lispro to be their best option.
David A. Ricks, Lilly’s chairman and CEO said, “Today’s list price cut can further help people who are exposed within our healthcare system—the underinsured and uninsured. Half list-priced Insulin Lispro Injection has been adopted by a third of Humalog U-100 consumers. We hope this additional 40 percent cut can expand affordable insulin to more people with diabetes.”
Most users of Insulin Lispro will not see a change in their out-of-pocket costs, as they are likely to have co-pays or be utilizing one of Lilly’s existing affordability programs. Patients are encouraged to continue filling insulin prescriptions at their normal pace.
Accessing Insulin Lispro
According to the release, all major wholesalers stock and deliver Insulin Lispro to U.S. pharmacies. And although the release states “payers will continue to have the opportunity to make the lower list-priced insulins available to people living with diabetes,” historically that has not been the case for the cheaper insulin option.
Pharmacists can substitute Humalog for Insulin Lispro at the pharmacy counter, but they have to be aware of the option. Similarly, if a provider isn’t familiar with Insulin Lispro, they won’t prescribe it.
Beyond Type 1 reached out to Eli Lilly to ask what work was being done to better educate providers and pharmacists about cheaper insulin options, so the burden is not solely on the person living with diabetes to know what is available.
“We spend significant time at Lilly working on insulin affordability solutions—from the best way to make our programs helpful to how we make them more visible,” said Adrienne Brown, vice president, U.S. Diabetes for Lilly. “We’ve put mechanisms in place that help pharmacists find the best solutions for people buying Lilly insulin, and we have sales professionals who remind health care professionals how their patients can find affordability solutions to complement their insurance coverage. We also talk to advocacy groups, payers and others in a variety of ways. It’s important the entire health care community come together to help patients find the affordability solutions that can help them.”
It remains to be seen how many insulin-users will benefit from a lowered price for Insulin Lispro. Any reduction in insulin price is a step in the right direction —but broad systemic change is needed to ensure that high quality, modern insulin is available to people with diabetes regardless of employment or insurance status, across all demographics, without barriers and at an affordable and predictable price point.
This content mentions Lilly, an active partner of Beyond Type 1 at the time of publication.
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