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Drugmaker Novo Nordisk Slashes Prices of Some Insulin Products by 75%

Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk has announced that it will lower the price of some of its insulin products in the United States by up to 75 percent, effective January 1, 2024.

Drugmaker Novo Nordisk Slashes Prices of Some Insulin Products by 75%

The company announced in a March 14 statement that it would reduce prices “up to 75%” for several of its products, including “pre-filled pens and vials of basal (long-acting), bolus (short-acting) and pre-mix insulins, specifically Levemir®, Novolin®, NovoLog® and NovoLog® Mix 70/30.” “Novo Nordisk recognizes that some patients find it difficult to pay for healthcare, including insulin.” the company wrote. “As such, the Company remains committed to reducing the burden of out-of-pocket costs, helping transform the complex pricing system, and fostering better pricing predictability.” This month, one of the company’s two major competitors, Eli Lilly, announced it would cap out-of-pocket insulin expenses at $35 a month on the heels of a bipartisan push by lawmakers to address the cost of the drug as well as the specter of new entrants to the market. NBC News noted some experts had predicted Novo Nordisk would introduce price cuts of its own. “Novo Nordisk is playing follow the leader here, after Eli Lilly cut prices substantially on insulin products,” said Larry Levitt, a health policy expert, told the outlet. An article in the Journal of Law and Biosciences noted “[t]he insulin market in the United States is highly concentrated,” and the three largest suppliers of the drug – Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, and Sanofi ”control over 90 per cent of the global insulin market.” The Wall Street Journal noted the cost of insulin rose dramatically in the last decade, doubling between 2011 and 2016, but these price hikes did not correspondingly increase the margins of drugmakers due to the “growing role of middlemen known as pharmacy-benefit managers who negotiate rebates and fees based on list prices”: This convoluted payment system for drugs in the U.S. encourages high list prices and steep behind-the-scenes discounts ... offers some bill payers lower overall costs while uninsured patients and those with certain health plans pay more. Insulin, like EpiPen, is used by millions of Americans. As a result, the Journal observed, “list-price cuts might not materially hurt sales because the company already pays relatively high rebates to insurers and other payers.” You can follow Michael Foster on Twitter at @realmfoster.

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