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Eli Lilly launches generic insulin ahead of Congressional hearings



To stave off competition from other generic makers and appease Congress, Eli Lilly is introducing a generic version of its insulin lispro injection (Humalog).

The list price of the generic Humalog, called Insulin Lispro, will be 50% lower than the branded medication at $137.35 per vial and $265.20 for a 5-pack of KwikPens, Eli Lilly said in a statement.

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Eli Lilly, along with other major insulin makers, Novo Nordisk (Tresiba and other brands) and Sanofi (Lantus) will be questioned about the price of their drugs at Congressional hearings later this month. Several other pharma makers have already faced scrutiny at Congressional hearings in late February.

"We've engaged in discussions about the price of insulin with many different stakeholders in America's health care system: people living with diabetes, caregivers, advocacy groups, healthcare professionals, payers, wholesalers, lawmakers, and leading health care scholars," said David A. Ricks, chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly, in the statement. "Solutions that lower the cost of insulin at the pharmacy have been introduced in recent months, but more people need help. We're eager to bring forward a low-priced rapid-acting insulin.”

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While Eli Lilly pays “significant rebates” on insulins, the rebates do not directly benefit all patients, according to Ricks. “This needs to change. There are numerous ideas, including the rebate reform proposal from HHS. For people with diabetes, a lower-priced insulin can serve as a bridge that addresses gaps in the system until a more sustainable model is achieved.”

Eli Lilly will work with supply chain partners to make Insulin Lispro “available in pharmacies as quickly as possible”, according to the statement. The generic will be made available as an authorized generic through a Lilly subsidiary, ImClone Systems.

Plus, Humalog remains available for patients who want to continue accessing it through their current insurance plans. The last time the branded medication realized a list price was May 2017, according to Eli Lilly.

Read more: Deadly infection linked to common diabetes drugs

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