Novo Nordisk desires to chop US insulin costs by as much as 75% after Eli Lilly

Novo Nordisk Inc. NovoLog brand insulin pens are arranged for a photo on Friday April 5, 2019 in the borough of Brooklyn in New York, United States.

Alex Flynn | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Novo Nordisk announced plans on Tuesday to cut the price of several insulin drugs in the US by up to 75%, becoming the latest drugmaker to make significant price cuts after years of public outrage over the high cost of diabetes care.

Novo Nordisk, one of the world’s largest insulin makers, will reduce the list price of its NovoLog insulin by 75% and the prices of Levemir and Novolin by 65%, the company said in a press release. The price changes will take effect on January 1, 2024. They apply to insulins that are available in bottles and injection pens.

NovoLog’s list price will drop from $558.83 to $139.71 for a pack of five injection pens. For a vial, the price drops from $289.36 to $72.34.

The company also said it plans to lower the list price of its unbranded insulin products to match the reduced price of each branded insulin.

“We have worked to develop a sustainable path forward that balances patient affordability, market dynamics and evolving policy changes,” said Steve Albers, Novo Nordisk’s senior vice president of market access and public affairs. in the press release. “Novo Nordisk remains committed to ensuring patients with diabetes can afford our insulins, a responsibility we take seriously.”

A spokesman for Novo Nordisk also told CNBC that the price cuts “have been in development for many months, but due to increased interest from stakeholders, we have accelerated to announce them now.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Novo Nordisk’s actions.

The announcement comes two weeks after drugmaker Eli Lilly said it would cut prices of its top-prescribed insulins by 70% and increase the monthly patient co-payment cap to $35 beginning in the fourth quarter. Novo Nordisk, Lilly And Sanofi Control over 90% of the global insulin market.

The move also comes after insulin makers faced years of pressure from lawmakers to make the life-saving hormone more affordable for people with diabetes.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent and chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said in a Twitter post the announcement was “good news” and urged Sanofi tighten.

“Thanks to pressure from the grassroots, Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk have now lowered the price of insulin… But much more needs to be done,” Sanders said, adding that the Senate will hold a hearing “on the need to increase insulin.” to guarantee an affordable price for everyone who needs it.”

Earlier this month, the senator introduced legislation that would limit the list price of insulin to $20 per vial. The Inflation Reduction Act limited monthly insulin costs for Medicare beneficiaries to $35 per monthly prescription, but offered no protection for diabetes patients who have private insurance.

High prices have forced many Americans to ration insulin or reduce their use of the drug. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that by 2021, nearly one in five U.S. adults were either skipping, delaying, or using less insulin to save money.

About 37 million people in the United States, or 11.3% of the country’s population, have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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