Paris-based Sanofi (Nasdaq:SNY) is the fastest company to reduce insulin prices. The pharmaceutical behemoth said it would cut the list price of Lantus (insulin glargine injection) by 78%. Lantus is its most commonly prescribed insulin in the U.S. Moreover, Sanofi will implement a $35 cap on out-of-pocket expenses for users of the insulin.
Sanofi has also pledged to slash the list price of its short-acting Apidra (insulin glulisine injection) 100 units/mL by a 70%.
The company has a 40% share of the U.S. market.
Lilly and Novo Nordisk have similar initiatives
This follows recent announcements from other companies striving to decrease insulin costs. For example, Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) committed to capping out-of-pocket expenses for insulin at $35 monthly. Lilly also said it would drop the price of its non-branded insulin to $25 per vial, resulting in cost reductions of up to 70%.
Similarly, Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) said it planned to lower the list prices of various popular pre-filled insulin pens and vials by as much as 75%.
In addition to these major manufacturers, smaller companies and retailers such as Walmart are also working on reducing prices for insulin prescriptions. Last year, California announced plans to manufacture affordable insulin for its residents with diabetes. Lower prices from major manufacturers may reduce the state’s drive to produce its own insulin.
Over the past few decades, insulin prices in the U.S. have skyrocketed, creating an affordability crisis for many people living with diabetes.
One of the primary reasons for the soaring insulin prices is the lack of competition among the three major insulin manufacturers — Sanofi, Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk.
Political and advocacy efforts set the stage for insulin price reductions
The recent sweeping price reductions and out-of-pocket cost caps at large insulin producers follow years of pressure from politicians and patients, who have lobbied for less expensive insulin through advocacy and awareness campaigns and legislative efforts.
Various politicians and stakeholders have pushed for insulin price reductions. For instance, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, along with House Diabetes Caucus co-chairs Diana DeGette (CO-01) and Tom Reed (NY-23), introduced bipartisan policy priorities intended to lower insulin costs. Congress is also considering the bipartisan INSULIN Act, introduced in the Senate in July, which sought to incentivize insulin manufacturers to cut list prices and cap monthly insulin costs for insured diabetics at $35.
These cost reductions could enhance the health and quality of life for people with diabetes who rely on insulin. Sanofi’s changes will take effect on January 1. In 2022, the company released an unbranded Lantus biologic at a 60% lower price than the Lantus list price.