Having diabetes isn’t just costly, it also makes it harder for doctors to treat you if you get infected by the coronavirus.
And while all of this sounds quite depressing, here’s something to lift our spirits – one pharmaceutical manufacturer has capped their insulin costs at $35 to help diabetes patients remain healthy during the pandemic.
The drugmaker in question is Eli Lilly and Company and they’re based in Indiana. With their Lilly Insulin Value Program, Eli Lilly has capped the out-of-pocket cost of insulin to $35 per month to help patients who may have lost their jobs due to different industries shutting down.
This co-pay cap will cover most of the company’s insulin, including the Humalog injections and the program applies to both uninsured and commercially insured patients but not to Medicare Part D or Medicaid.
Aaron Kowalski and Tom Scher, the CEOs of the nonprofit JDRF-Beyond Type 1 Alliance said in a statement that “Enabling a $35-per-month insulin co-pay regardless of employment status will help many Americans in this difficult time,”
Lilly Diabetes President Mike Mason also commented, saying that “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,”
Mason also added that “We’ve been providing affordability solutions for a long time, but more is needed to help people during this unprecedented period. People with commercial insurance, as well as those without insurance at all, are eligible, and the process is quick and simple. We want people who need help to call us.”
Insulin prices in the U.S. have been rising for years and spiked with 100% between 2012 and 2016 to the point of costing thousands of dollars even for people insured with high-deductible plans. This has lead to stark criticism from both politicians and social leaders such as Senator Bernie Sanders.
The Trump administration has also been active on this front and has developed a proposal to limit the out-of-pocket costs of insulin for Medicare patients during the Covid-19 crisis.
Other politicians have also been active on this front with Virginia’s Democratic legislature passing a bill last month that aims to force insulin manufacturers to cap their insulin prices to at least $50 a month.
How many of these proposals and bills will actually pass and for how long they’d be in effect remains to be seen, but for the time being Eli Lilly’s Insulin Value Program is indeed a breath of fresh air for many people.