Sanofi becomes latest drugmaker to announce insulin price cuts, capping cost at $35 for the privately insured


Sanofi is cutting the list price of Lantus, its most commonly prescribed insulin in the US, by 78% and introducing a $35 monthly cap for privately insured users, the company announced Thursday. The change will take effect on January 1st.

The move follows similar ones by Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk this month. The three companies dominate the global insulin market.

Insulin manufacturers have come under increasing public and government pressure to lower their prices to more people with diabetes amid the Inflation Reduction Act, which caps $35 per insulin prescription per month for Medicare beneficiaries.

Sanofi is also cutting the list price of its short-acting Apidra insulin by 70%.

Uninsured Americans are eligible for Sanofi’s Insulins Valyou Savings Program, which allows them to purchase one or more insulins for a 30-day supply for $35. Another offer allows non-insured individuals to purchase the Soliqua Injection for just $99 per pen box for up to two pen boxes for a 30-day supply.

Earlier this month, Eli Lilly announced a series of price cuts that would reduce the price of the most commonly used forms of its insulin by 70%. Eli Lilly also said it will automatically cap out-of-pocket insulin costs to $35 for people who have private insurance and use participating pharmacies, as well as expand its Insulin Value Program, which will cap out-of-pocket costs to $35 – Dollars or less per limited month for uninsured.

Then, on Tuesday, Novo Nordisk said it would slash list prices of several of its popular pre-filled insulin pens and bottles by as much as 75%. However, the company did not announce an expansion of its programs that lower patient costs, which has been a focus of President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats. It runs several programs to reduce costs for people with diabetes.

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Reducing list prices generally helps lower costs for insured Americans who have not met their deductibles and for the uninsured. Once insureds have met their deductible, they typically pay a lower rate set by their insurance plan.

The high cost of insulin, which is relatively cheap to manufacture, has been in the spotlight for many years.

Last year, Democrats in Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which lowers Medicare beneficiaries’ co-payments for insulin to $35 per month per prescription starting this year. Republicans blocked a measure to extend that price cap to those covered by private insurance.

In his State of the Union address last month, Biden called for a cap on insulin costs for all Americans to $35 a month. And later he praised Eli Lilly’s move, describing it as “a big deal” and urging other drugmakers to do the same. He noted Novo Nordisk’s announcement in a speech on Wednesday about reducing drug prices.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 16.5% of people in the US who use insulin say they ration it to save money.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the average price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013. The trend has continued, with the average retail price of insulin rising 54% between 2014 and 2019, according to GoodRx, which tracks drug prices, offers coupons, and operates a telemedicine platform.

Demand for insulin has increased significantly as diabetes has become the world’s fastest growing chronic disease, a 2022 study found.

In the US alone, the number of adults with diabetes has doubled in the past 20 years, and it now affects more than 37.3 million people, according to the CDC. Another 96 million Americans — 38% of the population — have prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. This can often lead to diabetes.

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People with diabetes depend on insulin because their bodies have stopped making enough of the hormone or aren’t using it efficiently to convert food into energy.

When a person eats, the person’s body breaks down the food, primarily into sugar. This sugar enters the bloodstream and signals the pancreas to release insulin, which acts like a key, allowing the sugar to fuel cells. But when diabetes keeps sugar in the bloodstream for too long, it can lead to serious problems like kidney disease, heart problems and blindness.

In 2019, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Diabetes Association.


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