Insulin maker Eli Lilly introducing cheaper version

Insulin maker Eli Lilly introducing cheaper version

U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after Eli Lilly announced it would be selling a less expensive, generic version of its rapid-acting insulin, Humalog.

The cost of insulin for treating type 1 diabetes in the United States almost doubled over a five-year period, underscoring a national outcry over rising drug prices, Reuters reported in January. Vials and pens of the lower-priced insulin have been manufactured, and Lilly will now work with supply chain partners to make them available in pharmacies as quickly as possible.

Lilly's rebranded product will be called Insulin Lispro, while Humalog, which makes $3 billion in annual sales, will remain available for those wishing to access it through existing insurance plans.

Humalog brought in $1.8 billion in USA sales a year ago for Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.

Lilly's move is one of the first by a major drugmaker to offer a cut-price version of a major product, and could put pressure on other pharmaceutical companies to do the same. Citigroup downgraded shares of Eli Lilly And Co from a "buy" rating to a "neutral" rating and set a $115.00 price objective for the a report on Monday, November 26th.

The announcement comes as the skyrocketing cost of insulin and other life-saving drugs has been the focus of state- and federal-level debate, with lawmakers publicly criticizing high drug prices and people sharing their personal struggles affording necessary medicines.

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List prices are initial figures drugmakers attach to a product and are typically knocked down by rebates negotiated with pharmacy benefit managers.

Dave Ricks said in a statement that Eli Lilly doesn't want any diabetic patient to curtail or skip their insulin dosages owing to affordability issues, therefore the firm doesn't want its customers to pay the full retail price for Humalog. And it's a recognition that plenty of patients feeling the squeeze of these high list prices are starting to come onto Big Pharma's radar.

Ricks says Lilly will continue to work on longer-term cost solutions, including rebate reform, but believes "lower-priced insulin can serve as a bridge that addresses gaps in the system until a more sustainable model is achieved".

The drugmakers have said that developing their products is a risky and costly process, and their prices reflect that.

The history of the lifesaving drug insulin.