The high cost of insulin for Jessica Price, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus as a child sometimes leaves her with difficult life choices, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017.
Eli Lilly and Co., which has come under fire for the high cost of its insulin, announced Monday it will introduce a version of one of its medicines to treat diabetes that will have a 50 percent lower list price.
Insulin Lispro, the same molecule as the Lilly insulin drug Humalog, will cost $137.35 for a single vial. The drug also will be available in a pen option and run $265.20 for a five pack of KwikPens.
A Lilly subsidiary, ImClone Systems, will make the drug available as an authorized generic, the company said.
David Ricks, Lilly chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement the price reduction alone would not solve the problem of the high price of prescription drugs.
“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. “We hope our announcement is a catalyst for positive change across the U.S. health system.”
As the price of insulin has soared in recent years, as many as one in four people who rely on the drug have had to ration their supply, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Both state and federal lawmakers have discussed ways to reform the system to make such drugs more affordable.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a former Lilly executive, has proposed ending the elaborate rebate system for drugs, which many experts point to as one of the sources for rising prices.
“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,” Ricks said.
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