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Insulin Affordability in the US: Are We at a Turning Point?

Rising US drug prices have made accessing life-saving medications, like insulin, increasingly inaccessible. Over the past three decades the price of insulin has experienced a staggering one thousand percent cost increase - forcing more than 1 million Americans to ration this vital medication for their health and wellbeing.

Recently, Eli Lilly announced a decision to cut its list price for insulin by 70% in the US. This move has made waves throughout the healthcare industry, and is an intriguing development that could have significant implications for big pharmaceutical companies and those they serve in years to come.

Could Eli Lilly's move represent a new era of insulin affordability? In the CareTalk episode, “What Eli Lilly’s Insulin Price Cut Really Means?" hosts, John Driscoll and David Williams weigh in on the insulin price slash and its broader implications for Insulin affordability in America.

America's Insulin Pricing Problem

The problem of rising drug prices in the US is well documented and widely accepted as one of the major reasons why healthcare is so expensive in the US. It affects not only those who are dependent on drugs for their health but also those who are paying out of pocket for medication. And while there have been several attempts at addressing this problem, they have largely failed to make an impact on the high cost of drugs in America.

Insulin has been a vital lifesaving medication since the 1920s, yet in America it is one of the most expensive treatments. Insulin prices have drastically risen with industry companies taking advantage of consumer demand and price increases often hitting hundreds of dollars for just one month's supply. By monopolizing insulin production, which in turn leads to aggressive price-gouging, big pharma has earned billons.

Insulin Affordability in the USA

Insulin prices have risen astronomically over the last three decades, these price spikes create an impossible situation for Americans that need insulin to live, especially those dealing with other healthcare costs. Insulin is increasingly difficult to obtain as many Americans lack basic insurance coverage that could help pay for it and must resort to skipping dosage or rationing their medication significantly impacting their health, leaving them vulnerable and at risk.

“Insulin was contributed to the world by two Canadian sciences as a gift for two pennies and those that have been manufacturing it and distributing in the us It's probably the most egregious example of excessive overpricing”. - John (CareTalk)

How Eli Lilly's Insulin Price Cut Affect Americans in Need?

In response to public outrage and millions of Americans having to ration their Insulin, Eli Lily has taken a stance to combat the industry standard and cut its insulin prices. As of March 1st, Eli Lilly is reducing its price of insulin by 70 % and capping insulin out of pocket costs at $35 per month.

Eli Lily's recent efforts to cut the price of insulin are commendable and indicate an ambition to make the essential healthcare drug more accessible for Americans. Insulin is a fundamental treatment for diabetes, a disorder that affects over 10% of people in America, so inevitably this decision will benefit many individuals.

Of course, most people are covered by insurance, but the cut still holds significant implications for those who presently face financial obstacles when in need of medical care. Insulin is still one of the most expensive drugs on the market, so any reduction should be seen as something that advances overall healthcare equality in America.

“It's direct pressure from the government and from popular opinion. The Inflation Reduction Act, in particular has brought this to a four. The news that people are rationing insulin, a million people are more in the United States”. David (CareTalk)

What The Insulin Price Cut Could Mean For The American Healthcare System?

Eli Lilly’s announcement of a sharp cut in the price of its insulin, has introduced a welcome relief to the high and ever-increasing costs of healthcare. Insulin has long been a necessary drug for individuals with diabetes, yet prices had grown significantly in recent years. The move by Eli Lilly promises to alleviate some of the financial burden placed on consumers who desperately need access to these lifesaving medications.

Eli Lilly's bold move to reduce the cost of its insulin products is making waves in the fight against sky-high drug prices. If other pharmaceutical companies follow their lead, millions of Americans may benefit by receiving access to life-sustaining medications at reduced costs. This could be a transformative development for those relying on essential drugs like insulin to manage their health conditions. With all this in mind, it remains to be seen how other pharmaceutical companies will respond this new cost model.

Eli Lilly Offices

“I think that there's an opportunity to parse those non novel drugs like insulin where I think the government can leverage its pricing power or its appropriate responsibilities as a purchaser and still protect some of the novel therapies that pharma should be rewarded for”. John (CareTalk).

Will Eli Lilly's Insulin Price Cut Shape the Future for Medication Affordability?

In conclusion, insulin prices remain too expensive for many people. There is much work to be done to address this issue on a broader scale. The Eli Lilly insulin price cut will help close the gap that exists in healthcare costs for many people who need treatment with insulin, but unfortunately, only those who use the Lilly brand will qualify for the discount.

While promising, how the insurance coverage and overall market adjust in light of this major price reduction remains to be seen over time, and more steps must still be taken to ensure wider access and increased affordability of insulin as it should be.

Eli Lilly’s announcement that it would reduce the cost of its insulin products by 70% was met with both optimism and skepticism from healthcare professionals and consumers alike.

While this move could potentially lead to significant savings for those relying on medications like insulin, it remains unclear whether other pharmaceutical companies will follow suit and whether these price reductions can actually lead to lasting change in the US healthcare system.



CareTalk is the only healthcare podcast that tells it like it is. Join hosts John Driscoll (President U.S. Healthcare and EVP, Walgreens Boots Alliance) and David Williams (President, Health Business Group) as they provide an incisive, no B.S. view of the US healthcare industry.



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