🖤 Donations of all sizes power our public service journalism Give Now

Eli Lilly cuts list price, out-of-pocket costs for some of its insulins

Samantha Fields Mar 2, 2023
Heard on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly announced Wednesday that it would cap the price for some of its insulin at $35 at certain pharmacies. NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images

Eli Lilly cuts list price, out-of-pocket costs for some of its insulins

Samantha Fields Mar 2, 2023
Heard on:
Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly announced Wednesday that it would cap the price for some of its insulin at $35 at certain pharmacies. NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Drug company Eli Lilly announced it’s cutting the price of its most commonly-used insulins by 70%.

It’s also said it’s capping the out-of-pocket cost patients pay at $35 dollars — both for people who do and don’t have insurance.

For people with private insurance, the price cut applies as long as they pick up their prescriptions at certain participating pharmacies.

Insulin can be prohibitively expensive, sometimes hundreds of dollars a month even with insurance.

Marta Wosińska at the Brookings Institution said the fact that Eli Lilly is capping out-of-pocket costs and lowering the list price for several of its insulins is a big deal for a lot of people.

“For many patients that have either high deductible health plans … or patients who instead of having flat co-pays actually have coinsurance … well, the list price really matters for them,” Wosińska said. “Because when they go to the pharmacy, they pay the list.”

But Dr. Kavita Patel, a primary care physician in Washington, D.C., said these changes do not mean that everyone with diabetes who takes insulin will suddenly be paying less.

“Everybody reads this, and you think, ‘oh, it’s all the insulins!’ — and it’s not,” Patel said. Lots of other insulin will still be just as expensive as ever.

Another issue, Patel said, is that even for people who do take one of these now lower-priced insulins, a lot will still depend on what insurance companies work out with different pharmacies.

“In all situations I say, you know … consumer beware,” Patel said. “Because it sounds incredible. It is incredible. But it does not automatically translate to people seeing all of a sudden a flood of access or easy access to insulin at low cost.”

But, she said it is a step in the right direction.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.