An Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical manufacturing facility at 50 ImClone Drive in Branchburg, New Jersey on March 5, 2021.
mike mowing | Reuters
Uninsured Americans pay almost $98 on average for a vial of Eli Lillygeneric insulin, even after the company promised to reduce the product’s list price to $25 per vialaccording to a report released Thursday by Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Eli Lilly earlier this year promised to slash the list price of its generic insulin, Lisprostarting at $82.42 per vial as of May 1. The Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company is one of the largest insulin manufacturers in the world.
The Massachusetts senator’s report surveyed more than 300 U.S. drugstore chains and independents between June 9 and June 28 to determine whether Eli Lilly’s announced price cut “produced real relief for consumers.” patients”.
The survey found that a third of pharmacies charged uninsured patients $164 or more for a vial of Eli Lilly’s Lispro.
Seven pharmacies charged $200 per vial or more, and two sold the product for more than $300.
Pharmacy chains charged uninsured customers an average of $123 per vial for generic insulin, compared with $63 on average at independent pharmacies.
Eli Lilly did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the survey.
The survey findings suggest that “Eli Lilly’s promises of affordable and accessible insulin have not been fulfilled for uninsured patients across the country,” Warren said in a statement.
He said the data also shows that Congress needs to do more to rein in price gouging, like capping insulin copays at $35 a month for all patients, regardless of insurance status.
President Joe Biden’s Reducing Inflation Act currently caps insulin copays at $35 per month for people covered by Medicare.
“My new report confirms that too many uninsured Americans can’t afford or afford skyrocketing prices for lifesaving generic insulin; policymakers need to step up and take action,” Warren said in a news release.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill June 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. The committee held the hearing to review the “Semi-Annual Report to Congress of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
Michael A McCoy | fake images
Insured Americans often pay a fraction of the list price for insulin. But the uninsured often have to pay full cost, which can force them to ration or stop taking life-saving diabetes treatment.
Nearly 30% of uninsured diabetic patients reported skipping insulin doses, taking less than prescribed or delaying purchases in the past year, Warren said, citing a study 2022 by researchers at Harvard and other institutions.
“No American should be forced to choose between life-saving medications like insulin and their ability to pay for food, housing and daily needs,” Warren said.
Earlier this year, Eli Lilly, Sanofi and new nordisk pledged to reduce the list prices of its most common prescription insulins by at least 70% by the end of 2023.
Eli Lilly and Sanofi also capped monthly insulin costs at $35 for people with private insurance.
Together, the three companies control 90% of the global insulin market.
His commitments drew applause from lawmakers and from Biden, who was pleased that companies were finally answering calls to help make diabetes care more affordable in the US.
But Warren’s survey raises questions about how effective his cost-cutting efforts will be.
About 37 million people in the US, or 11.3% of the nation’s population, have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Approximately 8.4 million patients with diabetes are dependent on insulin, the American Diabetes Association saying.