Drug giant Eli Lilly said Tuesday that it is capping the out-of-pocket cost of its insulin at $35 a month to help patients who may face financial struggles as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The new program is available for people with commercial insurance or without insurance. Patients with government insurance, including Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare or any State Patient or Pharmaceutical Assistance Program, are not eligible.
"Too many people in the U.S. have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 crisis, and we want to make sure no one goes without their Lilly insulin," Mike Mason, president of Lilly’s diabetes division, said in a statement.
The context: Insulin makers, including Lilly, have faced intense criticism as the price of the drug has soared in recent years and Reuters notes that the three top producers, Lilly, Sanofi SA and Novo Nordisk, have lowered the costs of their diabetes drugs to blunt such criticism.
The Trump administration, meanwhile, announced a plan last month to create a flat monthly copay of $35 for Medicare enrollees with diabetes, with a test of the program planned for next year. The administration said that Medicare beneficiaries pay an average of about $675 a year for insulin and projected that the new program could lower than to $229 a year, saving the government $250 million over five years.