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Drugmaker Eli Lilly places $35 cap on insulin, drops costs by 70%

Posted at 5:37 PM, Mar 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-01 19:40:20-05

IDAHO — Major drug manufacturer Eli Lilly placed a $35 cap on its insulin bringing relief to millions of Americans with diabetes.

The step hopes to be the first in a what could be a domino affect for the insulin industry. The cost of insulin has been a big debate for years and soon legislation could require the cap for all major prescription makers.

“It’s a really great announcement to all of us, that there is a way to have affordable insulin, quality insulin and being able to manage our lifestyles as we need to,” said Madison Thompson, Diabetes Education Nurse for St. Luke's.

The move also comes during a time of heightened inflation with costs climbing everywhere including food, groceries, and housing. This cap brings better affordability to the over 37 million Americans who require insulin to live and lowers stress on their budgets.

“It’s really sad that I had to make a choice of getting my $500 dollar prescription or buying groceries for my family,” said Thompson.

“This will definitely impact the whole industry, so that’s a great thing that they are making this step for the patients and for healthcare,” said Craig Coy, Director of Pharmacy at St. Luke's. “It’s great to see Eli Lilly step up to help our patients and help our community.”

In response to this price cap, the Diabetes Alliance of Idaho agrees, releasing this statement:

"The conversation around reducing the expense of insulin is not new. Idaho, along with all the other states, has been a part of the conversation advocating for lower insulin costs. According to the American Diabetes Association, Idaho has approximately 132,857 individuals diagnosed with Diabetes. Individuals diagnosed with Diabetes have approximately 2.3 times higher medical expenses than those who do not have diabetes. Insulin costs contribute significantly to those costs. We have heard stories from patients who have had to make the decision between buying their insulin or buying groceries. This is unacceptable.

The decision of Eli Lilly to place an out of pocket cap of $35 on their non-branded insulin is an exciting first step to helping those struggling to manage their Diabetes diagnosis. We at the Diabetes Alliance of Idaho are encouraged to continue the conversation around insulin affordability and will continue to advocate for Idahoans living with Diabetes. We hope that this decision, being made at a company level rather than a legislative level, will provide guidance and influence for other companies to follow."

David Ricks, CEO of Eli Lilly, hopes other companies follow soon to help American's with cost and that they can be the standard for providing healthcare and prescriptions to millions.

“We’re calling today on our partners in the insurance industry, government policy makers and employers who set the policy for their own insurance to match this new effort to reduce the cost to no more than $35 a month for insulin for all Americans,” said Ricks.

“It’s been a long time coming with people fighting for more affordable care, especially patients with diabetes,” said Thompson.