Published: Thu, March 07, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Eli Lilly Introduces Half-Priced Generic Version of Humalog

Eli Lilly Introduces Half-Priced Generic Version of Humalog

Although Eli Lilly executives were not involved in the Senate Finance Committee hearings last week, Business Insider reported that the firm's move to offer its insulin at a 50 percent reduction was "a bet that a lower price tag will help it escape the political crosshairs".

Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the committee, was more blunt, tweeting "there will be a lot of PR acrobatics about generic insulin" and that he will not stop investigating why companies keep raising the price of "a decades-old drug".

That conversation produced some surprising consensus on steps that may be taken to lower the crushing weight of drug costs borne by American consumers-alongside the usual finger-pointing to other players in the health care industry over who's to blame.

The soaring cost of insulin has been the focus of recent campaigns that highlight how patients struggle to afford the medicine they need to live.

Novo said it was offering insulin at $25 per vial at many national pharmacy chains and had a program to help uninsured patients. "We hope our announcement is a catalyst for positive change across the U.S. health-care system".

Lilly's rebranded product would be called Insulin Lispro, it said, while Humalog, which makes $3 billion in annual sales, will remain available for those wishing to access it through existing insurance plans.

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Lilly's discounted insulin will sell for a list price of $137.35 per vial or $265.20 for a five pack of Kwik Pens.

The cost of insulin for treating type 1 diabetes in the United States has almost doubled over a five-year period, leading some patients to put their own health at risk by rationing the medication. 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. In the two years since that launch, the net price per prescription for the class of basal insulins in the US has decreased by approximately 30 percent.

Yet many patients say the rising price of the drug is putting it out of reach, forcing them to dangerously curtail their doses.

Humalog brought in $1.8 billion in US sales and about $3 billion globally previous year for Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.

Humalog and Insulin Lispro are man-made fast-acting insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults and children with diabetes mellitus.

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