Summary: Insulin pricing is a hot button topic with politicians like Bernie Sanders questioning pricing and profits. Lilly Diabetes met with patients and caregivers about pricing and then turned around and increased the price of Humalog nearly 8%.
I’m quite frankly disgusted that Eli Lilly sees such enormous profits on insulin and continues to raise prices. When Banting and Best discovered insulin they did not intend to make a profit off of it, rather they gave the patent away. They had altruistic intentions of keeping people with type 1 diabetes alive, but insulin manufacturers including Eli Lilly are profiting enormously off of a drug that people with type 1 diabetes (and some people with type 2 diabetes) must either purchase or die without it.
Today I’m sharing 3 things: a comment from Bernie Sanders on insulin pricing, a statement from Lilly Diabetes on reducing the costs of insulin to patients, and news that just weeks after talking to patients and caregivers* about pricing they have raised the price of Humalog another almost 8%.
Bernie Sanders on Insulin Pricing
Bernie Sanders has been very vocal about the price gouging that patients are seeing on prescriptions, especially insulin. No matter your political views, Sanders is a champion for us right now.
Here’s what he recently said on Facebook:
“This is the richest nation in the history of the world. People should not be fighting for their lives because the afford the medication prescribed to them. It’s an international embarrassment that we pay by far the highest prices for prescription drugs in the world. This has got to stop. My colleagues in the Senate and I recently introduced legislation to allow importation of medication from other countries to help bring down the cost of prescription drugs. We have got to keep fighting and end this nightmare.”
Sanders linked to the article “The High Price of Insulin Is Literally Killing People.”
Lilly Diabetes on Addressing Insulin Pricing
Lilly recently hosted members of the diabetes online community (DOC) to discuss insulin pricing.
Here is a statement from their website about pricing and affordability:
“Over the last several months, Lilly has engaged the diabetes community, including people impacted by diabetes, advocacy organizations and the business community, on the topic of insulin prices. We recognize the burden many people with diabetes are feeling due to increased out-of-pocket expenses, and we’re committed to seeking additional solutions so everyone who uses insulin has affordable access.
As you may have heard, Express Scripts has introduced a new prescription drug discount program – Inside Rx – and Lilly is one of several pharmaceutical companies participating. We continue looking for ways to help provide options for people who pay full price at the pharmacy – including those who don’t have insurance or who are in the deductible phase of a high-deductible commercial insurance plan. Joining Inside Rx is a next natural step.
Through this program, most Lilly insulins can be accessed at a discount of approximately 40 percent – a savings that can be realized immediately at the pharmacy.
When it comes to providing access to insulin, more options are better. While the current system works for many people, some pay full retail price at the pharmacy, forcing difficult trade-offs. We all need to work together to address patient affordability. With this program, Express Scripts is providing an important option for many people with diabetes.
We also know that longer-term solutions are needed, and we are working on more ways to help people who have trouble affording their treatment. In the meantime, Inside RX can provide relief to people who typically pay all-cash for their medicines.”
Eli Lilly raised prices on 9 drugs last week
So you would think, given that Lilly just talked with patients and caregivers about insulin pricing, that the company is trying to make insulin affordable. But within weeks of that meeting Eli Lilly announced an almost 8% price increase for Humalog!
“The increases fit a pattern at Lilly and many other drugmakers of single-digit percentage hikes once or twice a year, despite political pressure and intense scrutiny of the practices. Lilly has come under fire for the price of its insulin drugs in particular, leading Senator Bernie Sanders to call for a federal investigation into collusion. Lilly and other insulin makers have denied any such activity.”
Read article “Eli Lilly raised prices on 9 drugs last week” on CNBC.
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*I’ve attended previous events at Lilly Diabetes, but I was not part of this most recent event.