Eli Lilly Slashes Insulin Prices by 70%, Caps Out-Of-Pocket Costs at $35 a Month, Bringing Relief to Millions

Insulin prices
Boxes of Humalog insulin manufactured by Eli Lilly.Getty

Insulin manufacturers have been under intense criticism after costs for the life-saving medicine rose more than 1,000% in recent years.

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly announced Wednesday it would slash insulin prices by 70% and cap out-of-pocket expenses at $35 per month after years of intense pressure from lawmakers and patients about skyrocketing costs of the life-saving drug.

The Indiana-based drugmaker said it will cut retail prices for Humalog, the company's most commonly prescribed insulin for treating diabetes. Lilly will also discount an older fast-acting drug, Humulin, the firm said.

Those reductions would begin in October, with vials of Humalog dropping from $274.70 to $66.40. Humulin vial costs would be cut from $148.70 to $44.61. The pharma company will offer generic versions of its insulin for $25 per vial beginning in May.

In recent years, as insulin prices soared, many diabetes patients began rationing the medicine, which they need daily to survive. Others reported going without as out-of-pocket insurance costs spiked to $1,000 per month. An estimated 30 million Americans live with the disease and more than eight million need insulin, according to the American Diabetes Association.

In 1999, one vial of Humalog cost $21. By 2019, that price was $332, an increase of more than 1000%, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The drug costs 10 times more in the United States than it does anywhere else, according to the American Diabetes Association. 

Last year's federal Inflation Reduction Act capped insulin costs at $35 a month for Medicare recipients. In February, President Joe Biden called on Congress extend that out-of-pocket limit to younger patients who purchase their own insurance or have coverage through their employer.

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