Drugmaker Eli Lilly said on Tuesday it has capped the out-of-pocket cost for insulin to $35 per month to help diabetes patients across the United States, many of whom are facing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The new co-pay scheme covers most of Lilly's insulins, including widely-used Humalog injection, and can be purchased by people with commercial insurance as well as those without insurance.
"Enabling a $35-per-month insulin co-pay regardless of employment status will help many Americans in this difficult time," said CEOs Aaron Kowalski and Thom Scher of non-profit organization JDRF-Beyond Type 1 Alliance.
However, patients with government insurance such as Medicaid, Medicare, Medicare Part D or any State Patient or Pharmaceutical Assistance Program are not eligible for the scheme, Lilly said.
The cost of insulin, a life-sustaining medicine for people with type 1 diabetes, nearly doubled from 2012 to 2016. Individuals with high-deductible health insurance plans often face thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket costs before their insurance starts paying.
Many pharmacy benefit managers like CVS Health, Cigna, and UnitedHealth already offer coverage plans in which patients pay discounted or zero out-of-pocket costs for insulin and other expensive diabetes treatments.
On average, people enrolled in the federal healthcare program pay about $675 per year for insulin.
Last month, the Trump administration unveiled a plan to limit the out-of-pocket cost for insulin to $35 per month for people who are enrolled in Medicare. The government plans to test the new pricing in 2021.