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Lilly CEO outlines insulin price cap plan

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The leader of Eli Lilly & Co. on Wednesday said the company’s new insulin price cap stems from years of negotiations and research.

Lilly President and CEO Dave Ricks told reporters the company’s announcement of a $35 per month out-of-pocket price cap is partly rooted in a 2019 pilot program that led to the implementation of a cap for Medicare Part D users. He said the company supported last year’s unsuccessful effort to include a price cap for commercial insurance users in the Inflation Reduction Act.

“We think it’s time to reduce out-of-pocket costs for insulin and have insurance work as it’s intended, which is to shield people with chronic conditions from health care costs,” he said.

The Indianapolis-based company announced a series of measures intended to reduce the price users pay for its insulin products. Effective immediately, the company is imposing a $35 per month out-of-pocket cap for users who buy their insulin at participating pharmacies and pay using private insurance. Company officials said this should be automatic for about 85 percent of privately insured users. People who are uninsured or whose insurer does not participate in the program can download a savings card that will allow them to take advantage of the cap.

In addition to the cap, Lilly officials said they are lowering the list prices for the drug. Next month, the company will launch a new basal insulin called Rezvoglar. A set of five KwikPens, which contain multiple doses each, will cost $92. On May 1, Lilly’s non-branded insulin will drop to $25 per vial. Then, in the fall, list prices for Humalog and Humulin will fall from nearly $275 to $66.

Democrats in Congress and President Joe Biden have for years been pushing pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of insulin to $35 per month. The U.S. House approved language in its version of the Inflation Reduction Act to do so but Senate Republicans stripped it out during subsequent negotiations. Biden repeated his call for lower insulin prices in his State of the Union address on Feb. 7. He praised Lilly’s announcement on Wednesday and urged other insulin manufacturers to follow suit.

Ricks said Lilly will continue to support legislation to limit insulin prices across the board.

“While we hope that Congress would pass a similar cap in the commercial market, it’s a difficult political setup to pass anything, and why wait?” he said.

President Biden released a statement Wednesday after Lilly announced their action to lower insulin costs:

“Today, Eli Lilly, the largest manufacturer of insulin in the United States, announced that they are lowering their prices, capping what patients pay out of pocket for the drug maker’s insulin products at $35.  For far too long, American families have been crushed by drug costs many times higher than what people in other countries are charged for the same prescriptions. Insulin costs less than $10 to make, but Americans are sometimes forced to pay over $300 for it. It’s flat wrong.
Last year, I signed a law to cap insulin at $35 for seniors and I called on pharma companies to bring prices down for everyone on their own. Today, Eli Lilly did that.
It’s a big deal, and it’s time for other manufacturers to follow.”

President Joe Biden