Novo Nordisk plans to cut the list price of its NovoLog insulin by 75% and the prices for Levemir and Novolin by 65%, according to a press release on Tuesday. Insulins that come in vials and injection pens will be covered by the price reduction, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. NovoLog’s list price for a pack of five injection pens will fall to $139.71 from $558.83, and for a vial, the price will decrease to $72.34 from $289.36. The company will also lower the list prices of its unbranded insulin products to match the lowered price of each respective branded insulin.
Novo Nordisk is one of the world’s leading insulin manufacturers. The move follows pressure from lawmakers to make the life-saving hormone more affordable for people with diabetes. Insulin manufacturers including Sanofi and Eli Lilly have faced years of criticism regarding high insulin prices. Eli Lilly announced two weeks ago that it plans to cut the prices of its most commonly prescribed insulins by up to 70% and expand a $35 monthly cost cap on patients’ out-of-pocket expenses in 4Q21.
High insulin costs have led many Americans to ration insulin, increase their use of cheap insulin, or reduce their use of the drug. As per a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, almost 1 in 5 U.S. adults either skipped, delayed or used less insulin to save money in 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 37 million people in the U.S., representing 11.3% of the country’s population, have diabetes.
Steve Albers, Novo Nordisk’s senior vice president of market access and public affairs, said the firm has “been working to develop a sustainable path forward that balances patient affordability, market dynamics, and evolving policy changes.” According to a Novo Nordisk spokesperson who spoke to CNBC, the price cuts “have been in development for many months, but due to increased stakeholder interest, we accelerated to announce now.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent and chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, earlier this month introduced a bill that would cap the list price of insulin at $20 per vial. The Inflation Reduction Act was introduced, capping monthly insulin costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $35 per monthly prescription, but offers no protection to diabetes patients covered by private insurance.