Major Drugmaker to Cut Insulin Prices Dramatically

Eli Lilly and Company will cap monthly retail costs for most insulin products at $35.
Cara Smith
By Cara Smith 
Edited by Rick VanderKnyff

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One of the largest makers of insulin announced Wednesday it will cap the monthly cost of most of its prescribed insulin products at $35 — a big development for millions of Americans with diabetes who have weathered skyrocketing costs for years. 

Eli Lilly and Co. announced it will cap out-of-pocket costs at $35 at retail pharmacies — part of a 70% price reduction for its most commonly prescribed insulin products — regardless of whether patients are insured or uninsured.

Eli Lilly, along with Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, controls the vast majority of the global insulin market.

The announced price cap follows rising national criticism of the increasing cost of insulin. Around half of Americans with diabetes who have insurance through their employers spent more than $35 a month on insulin, according to the Health Care Costs Institute. Some uninsured patients with Type 1 diabetes report spending as much as $1,000 per month on insulin. 

Disturbing stories of individuals rationing their insulin, or forgoing it altogether, culminated in recent months with a widespread outcry against large pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the life-saving drug. 

Individuals enrolled in federal insurance programs will be excluded from this price cap, Eli Lilly said in a statement. But if you have Medicare prescription drug coverage, don’t worry — new legal protections ensure beneficiaries won’t pay more than $35 per month for insulin. 

Around 10.5% of the U.S. population, or 34.2 million people, live with diabetes, according to the Diabetes Research Institute. 

Of the individuals with private insurance who spend more than $35 per month on insulin, around half could save $19 per month and roughly a quarter could save $42 per month with the price cap, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.