The pharmaceutical industry has been greatly scrutinized of late over the high cost of new prescription medications. Eli Lilly & Co, for example, has caught a lot of flak over the exorbitant prices for its insulin products. Insulin of course, is a life- saving treatment for those who have diabetes. Unfortunately, patients with diabetes often find they cannot afford their medication.
But it seems Eli Lilly is making an effort to provide treatments for patients at a far more attractive price. This week, the drug maker announced a version of its insulin medicine that will available at half the price.
Eli Lilly & Co chief executive David Ricks comments, “We’ve engaged in discussion about the price of insulin with many different stakeholders…There are clearly patients who, despite many best efforts, are struggling to afford their insulin. This is a step we can take to close part of that remaining gap.”
The list price for Eli Lilly’s insulin drug, Humalog 100, increased from $35 to $234 per vial between 2001 and 2015. This is an increase of 585 percent. The new authorized generic, Insulin Lispro, will sell for $137.35. It will also be available in a pen-administered option at a price of $265.20 for a pack of five KwikPens.
Ricks goes on to say, “While this change is a step in the right direction, all of us in the health care community must do more to fix the problem of high out-of-pocket costs for Americans living with chronic conditions. We hope our announcement is a catalyst for positive change across the US health system.”
A positive change is exactly what the US health care system needs, particularly in terms of life-saving medications. Fortunately, Congress is already looking into ways they can intervene with the drug industry to keep prices down and make treatments more accessible to all patients. As a matter of fact, United States Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, is a former executive with Eli Lilly and he is among the few who propose ending the complicated prescription drug rebate system to simplify cost structure and keep prices down.