Major drugmaker Eli Lilly announces plans to cap insulin prices, including its biosimilar option
Further adoption of biosimilars can lower patient costs and expand care access
Eli Lilly announced on March 1 its plan to cut the cost of its most prescribed insulin products by 70% throughout 2023. The pharmaceutical company will also cap out-of-pocket insulin costs to $35 a month for those who take the drug and have employer-sponsored health insurance.
More than 37 million people in the U.S. live with diabetes, of which 8.4 million must take insulin to survive. Before Eli Lilly’s announcement, insulin cost 10-times more in the U.S. than the rest of the world, with as many as one in four insulin users reporting they skip or take lesser amounts of their insulin to ration treatment and save money.
Lower-cost prescription drug options are critical, including biosimilars
Rising prescription drug costs continue to be a major financial strain for people and their families. At Regence, we help our members access the best available care options at the lowest possible price based on their health plan benefits. This includes being a national leader in helping our members use lower-cost drug alternatives known as biosimilars—reducing annual drug spend by $37 million. For example, we moved 95 percent of our members with diabetes from brand-name insulin to a biosimilar option within 90 days of it becoming available.
Biologics are specialty drugs that represent some of the most expensive treatments in the U.S., with annual costs averaging tens of thousands of dollars per member. While specialty drugs account for less than 2 percent of Regence’s insurance claims, they’re responsible for more than 55 percent of annual drug spend. Biosimilars are biologics that are highly similar and as safe and effective as the originator biologic, while costing 15-to-30 percent less. Today, biologics and biosimilars are available to treat diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, certain cancers, hemophilia and other conditions.
We’re here to help
Regence members who would like help finding lower-cost drug alternatives and other ways to save money can sign in to their account at regence.com. Once signed in, you can review your health plan benefits, explore covered drug options, as well as live chat or message our Regence Customer Service team. Members can also call us using the phone number on their Regence ID card. We’re here to help.