Eli Lilly, Boehringer Ingelheim's follow-on basal insulin Basaglar launched in US

Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim announced Thursday that Basaglar, a long-acting follow-on insulin to Sanofi's Lantus (insulin glargine), is available by prescription in the US. Eli Lilly recently revealed plans to offer US clients discounts of up to 40 percent on its insulin products, including Basaglar, which the FDA approved last year, in a bid to reduce costs for those who pay full retail prices at the pharmacy. 

David Kendall, vice president of global medical affairs at Eli Lilly's diabetes unit, said the companies "are proud to bring another proven effective diabetes treatment choice to people who may need a long-acting insulin to help control their blood sugar."

An Eli Lilly spokesperson noted that Basaglar will carry a list price of almost $317 for a pack of five pens. At that price, the therapy will be 15 percent less expensive than Lantus and Sanofi's next-generation basal insulin Toujeo (insulin glargine), 21 percent lower than Novo Nordisk's Levemir (insulin detemir) and 28 percent less than NovoNordisk's Tresiba (insulin degludec). 

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Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim also suggested that Basaglar, which has an amino acid sequence identical to Lantus, would likely be widely covered by insurance plans given its inclusion on the formularies of the top three pharmacy benefit managers. In August, CVS Health disclosed that it would exclude Lantus from its 2017 formulary in favour of biosimilar alternatives, while UnitedHealth recently revealed its intention to cover Basaglar as a Tier 1 drug and to omit Lantus (for related analysis, see ViewPoints: UnitedHealthcare taking a cue from formulary exclusion trailblazers).  

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