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Eli Lilly cuts insulin prices up to 70% amid pressure to slash costs

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(NEW YORK) — Eli Lilly will cut the price of its most commonly prescribed insulin products by 70% and expand a program that caps patient costs at $35 per month, the company said on Wednesday.

“While the current healthcare system provides access to insulin for most people with diabetes, it still does not provide affordable insulin for everyone and that needs to change,” David Ricks, chair and CEO of Eli Lilly, said in a statement.

“The aggressive price cuts we’re announcing today should make a real difference for Americans with diabetes,” he added.

The Indianapolis-based drugmaker faced a bipartisan pressure campaign from members of Congress, which included a two-year Senate probe of insulin prices that concluded in 2021.

The Inflation Reduction Act, enacted in August, set a $35 price cap on insulin products for Medicare recipients.

During his State of the Union Address last month, President Joe Biden called on Congress to extend the $35 price cap on insulin products for all patients.

Speaking in Virginia on Tuesday, Biden reiterated his call for the lowering the price.

“Look at the profit margins of these companies — they’re hundreds of billions of dollars,” Biden said. “It’s not like they’re getting hurt.”

“Let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for every single American who needs it,” he added.

All patients with private insurance will receive a $35 per month price cap on insulin, Eli Lilly said on Wednesday. People without insurance can enroll in a program through the company that will allow them to receive the monthly price cap, the company added.

The price of Humalog, Eli Lilly’s most frequently prescribed insulin drug, will drop 70% beginning at the end of this year, the company said. The discount affects a slew of Humalog products, including Humalog U-100, Humalog Mix 50/50 and Humalog Mix 75/25.

The cost of Humulin, an older drug, will also fall 70% by the end of this year.

In 2018, the average price of insulin in the U.S. was 10 times higher than the average price in other wealthy countries, according to a report from the Rand Corporation released in 2021.

Roughly 8.4 million Americans depend on insulin to survive, according to the American Diabetes Association.

All patients with Type 1 diabetes require insulin, as do some people with Type 2 diabetes.

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