Eli Lilly's lower-priced insulin goes on sale amid drug price debate

Article Image

A cheaper generic version of the rapid-acting insulin Humalog has hit the market, according to a...

Posted: May 23, 2019 10:09 AM

A cheaper generic version of the rapid-acting insulin Humalog has hit the market, according to a statement Wednesday by drugmaker Eli Lilly.

The company announced its plans in March amid growing concerns about the soaring prices of drugs, insulin in particular.

The prices have led many people with diabetes to cut back on their insulin in order to save on costs, in some cases leading to harmful or even deadly complications.

At 50% the list price of Humalog, the generic insulin lispro carries a list price of $137.35 per vial, the company said, or $265.20 for a pack of five pens. Brand-name Humalog will remain on the market.

The company says it expects people who are uninsured or on high-deductible plans to benefit. Mike Mason, senior vice president of connected care and insulins at Eli Lilly, said it's one way the company hopes to lower insulin costs "until a more sustainable solution is achieved."

Members of Congress have grilled executives of top pharmaceutical companies about the nation's skyrocketing drug prices.

On separate occasions, lawmakers blasted Big Pharma as "morally repugnant" and told executives, "Your days are numbered." In response, some pharmaceutical executives have agreed that it's unacceptable for patients to be struggling to afford their meds. Some have said the health care system is "broken."

Other companies, such as drugmaker Sanofi and health insurer Cigna, have introduced plans to lower the costs of insulin for some patients -- but lawmakers have argued that it's not enough.

In January, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said there was no clear reason "why the list price of Eli Lilly's main insulin drug, Humalog, went from $21 a vial in 1996 to its current list price of $275."

"Humalog isn't thirteen times as effective as it used to be," Wyden said. "A vial doesn't last thirteen times longer than it did in 1996."

A study last year estimated that the cost of manufacturing a year's supply of analog insulin tended to range between $78 and $133 per patient.

The US Food and Drug Administration also wants to bring competition to the insulin market as a way to lower prices, former Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in an April statement. Gottlieb said the agency would change how insulin is regulated in order to enable products that are interchangeable to come to market.

A government report in March found that one-third of uninsured Americans did not take their medicine as prescribed, to try to lower their costs.

"Charging nearly $140 for a vial of insulin -- a drug that was invented almost a century ago -- is still too high," Ben Wakana, executive director of the nonprofit Patients For Affordable Drugs, said in a statement in March, when Eli Lilly announced the move. "Millions of Americans with Medicare or employer coverage will continue to face Eli Lilly's exorbitant list price.

"We need systematic changes to fix the broken insulin market to finally solve America's insulin affordability crisis."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 36578

Reported Deaths: 2258
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10188604
Lake3876207
Allen181071
Cass15919
Elkhart158528
St. Joseph135838
Hendricks120478
Hamilton119194
Johnson1125113
Madison60061
Porter56233
Clark53942
Bartholomew53139
LaPorte44824
Howard44236
Tippecanoe4344
Jackson4012
Delaware39741
Shelby39722
Hancock35427
Boone32436
Floyd31941
Vanderburgh2913
Morgan28626
Noble27821
Montgomery24917
Clinton2471
White2399
Decatur23132
Grant22923
Dubois2113
Kosciusko2052
Harrison19622
Marshall1872
Henry18512
Vigo1828
Greene17226
Dearborn17122
Monroe17113
Lawrence17124
Warrick16729
Miami1461
Putnam1427
Jennings1324
Orange13122
LaGrange1282
Scott1263
Franklin1168
Ripley1086
Daviess10416
Carroll952
Wayne906
Steuben902
Wabash812
Newton8010
Fayette797
Jasper741
Jay580
Clay533
Randolph523
Rush513
Fulton511
Washington501
Pulaski500
Jefferson491
Whitley453
DeKalb451
Starke423
Perry390
Huntington382
Sullivan371
Wells350
Owen341
Brown331
Benton320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford250
Adams231
Switzerland220
Spencer221
Fountain222
Gibson202
Parke180
Posey160
Martin140
Warren131
Ohio130
Vermillion100
Union100
Pike60
Unassigned0180

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 125915

Reported Deaths: 5795
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook813443880
Lake8647334
DuPage7997394
Kane6672205
Will5799285
Winnebago246566
McHenry167779
St. Clair126292
Kankakee98954
Kendall83919
Rock Island70325
Champaign6777
Madison62465
Boone49817
DeKalb4508
Sangamon36029
Peoria30111
Jackson30010
Randolph2734
McLean22613
Ogle2253
Stephenson2115
Macon20020
Clinton19017
Union17114
LaSalle16016
Whiteside14913
Coles13817
Iroquois1355
Warren1220
Out of IL1161
Grundy1112
Knox1020
Jefferson10116
Monroe10012
McDonough9113
Unassigned900
Lee821
Tazewell815
Cass760
Williamson753
Henry700
Pulaski580
Marion520
Jasper467
Macoupin462
Adams441
Morgan421
Perry420
Vermilion421
Montgomery411
Livingston362
Christian354
Jo Daviess321
Douglas280
Jersey241
Menard220
Bureau211
Fayette213
Ford211
Woodford212
Washington190
Mason180
Mercer180
Carroll172
Hancock171
Shelby161
Alexander140
Schuyler130
Bond121
Franklin120
Fulton120
Moultrie120
Clark110
Crawford110
Johnson110
Logan110
Piatt110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Wayne91
Effingham81
Henderson80
Massac70
Saline70
Greene60
Wabash60
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland40
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
White20
Calhoun10
Edgar10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Terre Haute
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Robinson
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 70°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 66°
Rockville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 61°
Casey
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 68°
Brazil
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Marshall
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Mostly sunny and hot
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Art honors Hoosier pilot

Image

Protesters gather for change

Image

Free Fishing Weekend

Image

First outdoor market of summer in Terre Haute

Image

Individual diploma presentations

Image

Protesters demand justice for George Floyd

Image

1 injured in ATV accident

Image

Saturday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Umpires

Image

The Salvation Army and the historic origins of National Donut Day

WTHI Events