Eli Lilly Cuts Insulin Prices

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Accuchek, insulin, and syringe.
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Eli Lilly, which manufactures insulin among other prescription drugs, announced on Mar. 1, 2023 that it would cut prices for the company’s most prescribed insulins by 70%. Also announced was an expansion of the company’s “Insulin Value Program that caps patient out-of-pocket costs at $35 or less per month.”

David A. Ricks, Eli Lilly’s Chair and CEO, states, “While the current healthcare system provides access to insulin for most people with diabetes, it still does not provide affordable insulin for everyone and that needs to change. The aggressive price cuts we’re announcing today should make a real difference for Americans with diabetes. Because these price cuts will take time for the insurance and pharmacy system to implement, we are taking the additional step to immediately cap out-of-pocket costs for patients who use Lilly insulin and are not covered by the recent Medicare Part D cap.”

Ricks continues, “We are driving for change in repricing older insulins, but we know that 7 out of 10 Americans don’t use Lilly insulin. We are calling on policymakers, employers and others to join us in making insulin more affordable.”

However, Eli Lilly has raised the price on Humalog, the company’s most widely prescribed insulin, more than 1,000% over the last three decades. Out-of-pocket costs for patients has sometimes exceeded $1,000 a month for insulin, leading to rationing and other prescription non-compliance

President Joe Biden addressed the costs in the 2023 State of the Union: “Big Pharma has been unfairly charging people hundreds of dollars, $400 to $500 a month, making record profits.”

However, the new policies may not have much impact on how much patients actually pay for insulin, notes New York Times business reporter, Rebecca Robbins. Health insurance already lowers the prices for many, Congress has already imposed a $35 max copay for insulin for Medicare patients, and the company’s most popular drugs will not see a price reduction. Further, Ricks would not commit to saying the company would not raise insulin prices on a future date.

Discussion Questions

1. Should the US government regulate prescription drug prices? Why or why not?

2. Should more pressure be put on drug manufacturers to regulate drug prices? Why or why not?

3. How would you change the current system that determines drug costs? Consult ProCon’s “History of Prescription Drug Costs” for more information about how costs are set. Explain your answer(s).


Associated Press, “Eli Lilly Cuts the Price of Insulin, Capping Drug at $35 per Month Out-of-Pocket,” npr.org, Mar. 1, 2023

Eli Lilly, “Lilly Cuts Insulin Prices by 70% and Caps Patient Insulin Out-of-Pocket Costs at $35 Per Month,” investor.lilly.com, Mar. 1, 2023

Rebecca Robbins, “Eli Lilly Says It Will Cut the Price of Insulin,” nytimes.com, Mar. 1, 2023