Eli Lilly said Tuesday that it plans to introduce half-priced versions of Humalog Junior KwikPen (insulin lispro) and Humalog Mix75/25 KwikPen (insulin lispro protamine/insulin lispro) in the US by mid-April. Both of the new generic insulin products will have a list price of $265.20 for a package of five KwikPens.
"These lower-priced insulins may reduce out-of-pocket costs, especially for people in the coverage gap of Medicare Part D, the uninsured or those with high-deductible insurance plans," commented Mike Mason, president of Eli Lilly's diabetes division. The drugmaker said it will begin negotiating with wholesalers and payers immediately to make the new additional lower-priced insulins available.
Eli Lilly first launched an authorised generic version of its Humalog U-100 insulin in the US in May last year at a 50% lower list price as part of efforts to address the issue of patients' high out-of-pocket costs. The move came as the company, along with other insulin makers Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, came under growing pressure from US lawmakers to explain the rising cost of insulin in the country.
However, a report in August citing recent data from GoodRx, an app that tracks drug prices, indicated that patients were struggling to obtain the half-price insulin, with roughly 3% of insurance claims for Eli Lilly's insulin being for the generic version, while 97% were for its brand-name product. On Tuesday, Eli Lilly provided more recent figures, saying that over 67,000 people filled prescriptions for its generic insulin lispro injection in November, with roughly 10% of Humalog users having transitioned to the lower-priced option.
The company noted that combined, Humalog U-100, Humalog Mix75/25 and Humalog Junior KwikPen make up more than 90% of prescriptions written for its mealtime insulins, giving the "vast majority of people using a Humalog formulation...an option that may reduce their out-of-pocket costs." It also pointed out that more than 95% of patients using Humalog pay less than $100 for their monthly prescription because of their insurance coverage or one of the company's affordability programmes.
Earlier this month, Novo Nordisk launched its authorised generic versions of NovoLog (insulin aspart) and NovoLog Mix (insulin aspart protamine/insulin aspart) in the US at a 50% discount to the list price of their branded counterparts. Meanwhile, Sanofi offered new discounts in the US for its insulin products last year, providing some patients with diabetes access for $99 per month.
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