US patients with diabetes are struggling to obtain Eli Lilly’s half-price insulin, which it unveiled shortly before facing questions by the US Congress about the increasing cost of the essential drugs, reported Financial Times.
According to recent data from GoodRx, an app that tracks drug prices, roughly 3% of insurance claims for Eli Lilly’s insulin were for the generic version, Insulin Lispro, compared with 97% for its brand name Humalog.
Between 2009 and 2017, the wholesale price of a single vial of Humalog rose from $92.70 to $274.70, according to data from IBM Watson Health. Insulin Lispro costs $140 a vial.
Eli Lilly said one in five commercial plans and one in four plans on Medicare have access to coverage for Insulin Lispro, adding “we’re aggressively working with payers to increase those numbers to make Insulin Lispro widely available.”
A spokesperson said Eli Lilly has promoted the product directly to physicians, in paid advertising and in direct mailings to pharmacies.
He also noted that the drug only reached the market two-and-a-half months ago and many people have insurance plans that make Humalog a better financial choice.