Below political strain, Sanofi follows Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk in slicing insulin costs

A pharmacist holds a box of the drug Lantus SoloStar, manufactured by Sanofi Pharmaceutical, at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, January 9, 2020.

George Frey | Reuters

Sanofi on Thursday announced that it plans to cut the U.S. price of its most popular insulin drug by 78% and limit monthly out-of-pocket expenses to $35 for people who have private insurance starting next year.

In addition to its widely prescribed Lantus, the French drugmaker will slash the list price of its short-acting insulin Apidra by 70%. Sanofi already offers a $35 monthly insulin cap for uninsured diabetes patients.

The company is the latest major insulin maker to seek to stave off government efforts to cap monthly costs by announcing its own drastic price cuts for the life-saving hormone.

Eli Lilli And Novo Nordisk Similar sweeping cuts were made earlier this month after years of political pressure and public outrage over the high cost of diabetes care. The three companies control over 90% of the global insulin market.

“Sanofi believes that no one should have difficulty paying for their insulin and we are proud of our continued efforts to improve access and affordability for millions of patients over many years,” said Olivier Bogillot, Head of General Medicine at Sanofi in the US. The change will take effect on January 1st.

President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act capped the monthly cost of insulin for Medicare beneficiaries at $35, but offered no protection for diabetes patients who have private insurance.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent and chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, introduced legislation earlier this month that would limit the list price of insulin to $20 per vial.

Both the president and Sanders directly called on Sanofi to cut its prices on Tuesday, after Novo Nordisk announced its own cuts that day.

About 37 million people in the United States, or 11.3% of the nation’s population, have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 8.4 million diabetes patients depend on insulin, according to the American Diabetes Association.

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