Eli Lilly & Company LLY announced plans to launch lower-priced versions of two of its insulin product, Humalog – Humalog Mix75/25 KwikPen and Humalog Junior KwikPen.
The list price of these low-priced insulin injections will be 50% lower than the current list price of the branded options. The lower-priced version of Humalog Mix75/25 will be known as Insulin Lispro Protamine and Insulin Lispro Injectable Suspension Mix75/25 KwikPen (100 units/mL) while that of Humalog Junior KwikPen will be known as Insulin Lispro Injection Junior KwikPen. The cheaper KwikPens pack of five will cost $265.20 and are expected to be available from mid-April.
We remind investors that in May last year Lilly had launched a cheaper version of Humalog U-100 called Insulin Lispro Injection, which contains an identical molecule as Humalog. Insulin Lispro Injection was also priced 50% lower than the list price of Humalog U-100. Lilly said that since then 10% of people using Humalog have transitioned to the cheaper injection.
Lilly’s stock has risen 20.4% in the past year compared with 13.4% increase for the industry.
The move comes as the three largest insulin manufacturers, Lilly, Sanofi SNY and Novo Nordisk NVO face increasing scrutiny for steep prices of insulins. Prices have reportedly nearly doubled in the past five years. The insulin makers have defended the high list prices by saying that they have to pay significant rebates to pharmacy benefit managers to secure market share. However, uninsured patients suffer a lot due to the high list prices of insulins.
Last year, executives from several big pharma companies including Pfizer PFE, Sanofi, J&J, AbbVie and others were grilled by senators regarding high drug prices. Senators stated that the United States has some of the highest drug prices in the world and the companies need to make changes in drug pricing before the government imposes regulations. They blamed the American patent system for the high prices of drugs as it gives these companies a lot of monopoly protection.
Lilly currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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