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Lucy Chard
21 Mar 2023

Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi cut insulin prices by up to 78%

Insulin prices have dropped in a stark play by the three biggest makers of the product, after calls from the top of the US government. 

Eli Lilly, swiftly followed by Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, have all cut their prices for some of their insulin products in the USA, after requests from President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders. 

Sanofi has cut the price point for one product, Lantus, by 78%, simultaneously capping the individual cost (the cost not covered by insurance) at $35 per month for patients with commercial insurance. For their shorter-acting medicine, Apidra, they have cut the price by 70%. The price cuts are due to take effect from January 2024, adding to other price reductions for insulin products Sanofi made last year. In June 2022 Sanofi stated it would slash the price of some of its insulin products from $99 to $35 per month for uninsured residents in the USA. 

This initial price capping from Sanofi was in anticipation of a ruling in the Insulin Act, championed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, to cap all insulin products at $35, until this was blocked by the Republican senate cohort. Later in the year, when the Inflation Reduction Act from President Biden came to pass, the prices were eventually capped at $35, but only for senior citizens in the Medicare Part D scheme. 

“We launched our unbranded biologic for Lantus at 60% less than the Lantus list price in June 2022,” Olivier Bogillot, Sanofi’s US General Medicines Chief, commented. “Despite this pioneering low-price approach, the health system was unable to take advantage of it due to its inherent structural challenges.”

Eli Lilly was the first to cut prices, with a statement earlier in the month expressing that it would decrease the cost of it’s most prescribed insulin products by 70% as well as expanding their Insulin Value Programme, which also limits the out of pocket cost of insulin to $35 per month. 

Senator Sanders pressed home Lilly’s example, calling out Novo Nordisk and Sanofi to follow suit. Novonordisk responded by reducing the price of it’s Novolog insulin by 75% and Novolin and Levemir by 65%, starting in 2024. 

“We are pleased to see others join our efforts to help patients as we now accelerate the transformation of the US insulin market,” Bogillot stated. “Our decision to cut the list price of our lead insulin needs to be coupled with a broader change to the overall system to actually drive savings for patients at the pharmacy counter.”

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Lucy Chard
Digital Editor - Pharma

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