Novo Nordisk to cut US insulin prices by up to 75% after Eli Lilly

Novo Nordisk Inc. NovoLog brand insulin pens are laid out for a photograph in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S. on Friday, April 5, 2019.

Alex Flynn | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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

Novo Nordisk, one of the world’s largest insulin makers, will cut 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 will cover insulin supplied in vials and pens.

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

The company also said it plans to reduce the list price of its unbranded insulin products to match the discounted price of each respective branded insulin.

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

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

Novo Nordisk shares were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The announcement comes two weeks after drugmaker Eli Lilly announced it would slash prices of its most commonly prescribed insulins by 70% and extend a $35 monthly cap on out-of-pocket patient charges starting in the fourth quarter. Novo Nordisk, Lily 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 lifesaving hormone more affordable for people with diabetes. The Inflation Reduction Act capped monthly insulin costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $35 per monthly prescription, but did not provide protection for diabetes patients covered by private insurance.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent and chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, introduced a bill earlier this month that would cap the list price of insulin. at $20 per bottle.

High prices have forced many Americans to ration insulin or cut back on their use of the drug. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that in 2021, nearly one in five American adults skipped, delayed, or used 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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