Eli Lilly Creates Insulin Savings Program

Patients with diabetes buying Eli Lilly insulin can potentially save 40% off retail price.

Eli Lilly recently launched a discount program for patients with diabetes who purchase insulin from the company. These patients will be able to receive discounts starting in January 2017, which can be accessed through a mobile and web-based platform.

Lilly will offer these discounts to certain patients who pay full price for the drug due to a lack of health insurance, or who are in the deductible phase of a high-deductible plan, according to a company press release. This program was made possible due to a partnership with pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts.

Due to certain changes in insurance benefit design, insulin has become costly for certain individuals with diabetes. Some high-deductible plans exempt insulin from the initial deductible phase, but others require the individuals to pay for a majority of the costs until the deductible is met.

Discounts and rebates paid by manufacturers do not directly lower costs for the population who pays for the drugs out-of-pocket, especially individuals who have a plan where they must meet the deductible, according to Lilly.

Through using platforms from Blink Health, a company that offers significant discounts on prescription drugs, patients who use Lilly insulin can save 40%. This novel program is the first time a branded drug will appear on Blink Health’s platform, which previously only featured generic drugs.

"We understand the burden people face when paying full price for insulin," said Mike Mason, vice president, Lilly Diabetes. "This platform will effectively allow Lilly to lower our insulin retail prices for users of this platform while not affecting the reimbursement system for other people living with diabetes."

Lilly has engaged in long-term discussions regarding the cost of insulin with diabetes stakeholders, including advocacy groups and patients with diabetes, in order to better understand the financial challenges that these patients may face. As a result, Lilly and Express Scripts developed a plan to assist patients who pay out-of-pocket for insulin.

The program will include all presentations of Humalog (insulin lispro injection 100 units/mL), all Humulin U100 formulations (insulin human injection 100 units/mL), and Basaglar (insulin glargine injection 100 units/mL). Basaglar is a long-acting, follow-on biologic being launched this month by Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim, the company reported.

Patients who choose to use this program will be purchasing the drug out of the health plan, which means that their purchase will not be applied to their deductible. Lilly urges customers to weigh the benefits of the savings program to their current options prior to making a decision.

It is the hope that creating this program will provide additional beneficial changes for patients who use insulin, according to the press release.

"The healthcare system is incredibly complex, and we hope this program is a first step that will drive more thinking and innovative solutions for people with diabetes," said Enrique Conterno, president of Lilly Diabetes. "A more extensive solution will require leadership and cooperation across many stakeholders, including manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, insurers and patients. We're committed to seeking additional solutions so that everyone who uses insulin has reasonable access."