Eli Lilly recently announced that they would be introducing a lower priced generic version of Humalog called Insulin Lispro. According to the announcement, Insulin Lispro would be identical to Humolog and available for half the list price. This equates to approximately $137.35 for one vial and $265.20 for a five-pack of pens. Insulin Lispro would still require a prescription, but since it’s a generic, pharmacists could automatically substitute for people prescribed Humalog.
Who will this impact?
It is expected that the availability of Insulin Lispro will impact individuals who are prescribed insulin pump therapy or meal-time insulin and pay for their insulin out-of-pocket. This includes people who are uninsured, on high-deductible plans, or fall under the Medicare Part D “Donut Hole.” Those with comprehensive prescription drug coverage as part of their insurance plans may not notice much of a difference, although with the reduced cost, it is possible that some insurance plans could switch to Insulin Lispro as a preferred formulary option.
This announcement is especially significant for people with Medicare since they are not eligible for pharmaceutical sponsored co-pay card savings programs.
Affordability Resources: AADE’s Pharmacy COI created a task force to look at insulin costs. Click here to view the resources that the task force has prepared. Visit DiabetesEducator.org/affordability for additional resources.
Since January, drug pricing, and specifically insulin affordability, have taken center stage during national policy discussions held by both Congress and the Administration.
In late January, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing to examine drug prices and other committees are expected to follow suit. Most recently, the Senate Finance Committee invited executives from 7 major pharmaceutical companies to testify at a hearing designed to better understand how drug prices are set and why they keep rising significantly. The hearing is the second in a series of bipartisan hearings by the Committee to examine rising prescription drug prices. The hearing has been compared to past hearings with banking, health insurance, and tobacco executives that led to major legislative changes for those industries.
During this hearing, the 7 executives discussed their commitment to innovation, how prices are set, how the rebates that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) negotiate with pharmaceutical companies can lead to high list prices, their support for the HHS proposed rebate rule mentioned above, how to enhance the approval and competition for generic and biosimilar drugs, and legislative solutions like the CREATES Act that seek to reduce barriers to developing cheaper generic drugs.
Many feel like Eli Lilly’s announcement is a step in the right direction, while others have expressed that this does not go far enough. There are still questions about how this will impact the market, including how people with diabetes, lawmakers, payers, and PBMs may respond to such a change. What do you think?
AADE is closely monitoring these important policy discussions and will continue to keep members updated as it evolves into policy actions. Subscribe to the Advocacy Forum on My AADE Network for updates.