Drugmaker Sanofi announced Thursday that it will significantly reduce the list prices of its most wi…

Drugmaker Sanofi announced Thursday that it will significantly reduce the list prices of its most widely prescribed insulin, Lantus, and cap out-of-pocket costs for the drug at $35 a month for all patients with private insurance. The move follows similar announcements by Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, the three companies who control the majority of the insulin market.[0]

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed last year, already caps insulin costs at $35 a month for Medicare enrollees.[1] In response, President Joseph R. Biden is urging Congress to extend that same out-of-pocket cap to younger Americans with private health insurance.[2]

Novo Nordisk, a Danish drugmaker, will cut the price of its top-selling NovoLog to $72.34 per vial, down from $289.36, and the cost of Levemir to $161.77 (injection pen) and $107.85 (vial).[3] Several weeks ago, Eli Lilly declared that it would be drastically cutting the cost of insulin this year.[4]

“We have been working to develop a sustainable path forward that balances patient affordability, market dynamics, and evolving policy changes,” Steve Albers, Sanofi's head of U.S. general medicines, said in a statement.[5] We at Novo Nordisk take seriously our responsibility of making sure that those living with diabetes can access our insulins at a price they can afford.[5]

The price cuts announced by Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly are estimated to save millions of Americans who rely on insulin to survive. In addition, the companies are able to profit from the price cuts by no longer having to pay rebates to Medicaid for raising the price of drugs faster than the rate of inflation.[6]

The price cuts go into effect January 1, 2024, the same day that a US pricing rule comes into effect.[7] Additionally, Sanofi will cut the list price of its short-acting Apidra by 70%.[6] The company will also lower the cost of its unbranded biologics to be equal to the lowered prices of the branded insulins.

“Congress should still pass legislation to ensure everybody can get insulin for no more than $35 per month,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.[7]

0. “Insulin Makers Lowered Prices to Save — and Make — Money” Yahoo Life, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/insulin-makers-lowered-prices-save-225620150.html

1. “Novo Nordisk becomes latest producer to slash insulin prices” The Washington Post, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/03/14/novo-nordisk-insulin-prices

2. “Sanofi cuts price of insulin Lantus, following Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk” USA TODAY, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2023/03/16/insulin-prices-explained-eli-lily-novo-nordisk-sanofi/11475015002/

3. “Here’s why slashing insulin prices will actually save Big Pharma money” Ars Technica, 14 Mar. 2023, https://arstechnica.com/science/2023/03/heres-why-slashing-insulin-prices-will-actually-save-big-pharma-money/

4. “Strategy Behind Lowered Insulin Prices: Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly” BioSpace, 15 Mar. 2023, https://www.biospace.com/article/daily-insulin-prices-are-falling-what-about-novel-therapies-

5. “Novo Nordisk Announces 2024 Price Cut for Insulin Products” Patient Care Online, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.patientcareonline.com/view/novo-nordisk-announces-2024-price-cut-for-insulin-products

6. “Three's company: Sanofi joins Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly in slashing price of insulin” MM+M Online, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.mmm-online.com/home/channel/threes-company-sanofi-joins-novo-nordisk-eli-lilly-in-slashing-price-of-insulin/

7. “Sanofi is the latest insulin maker to announce price cap” FOX 17 West Michigan News, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.fox17online.com/news/national/sanofi-is-the-latest-insulin-maker-to-announce-price-cap

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