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Lilly (LLY) Launches Half-Priced Version of Humalog Insulin

Zacks Equity Research

Eli Lilly & Company LLY announced that the lower priced version of its popular insulin, Humalog is now available for order in pharmacies across the United States. Lilly had announced plans to launch this cheaper insulin option in March this year.

The list price of this low-priced insulin injection called Insulin Lispro, which contains an identical molecule as Humalog, is 50% lower than the current list price of Humalog U-100 (insulin lispro injection). Insulin Lispro will be available in vial and pen (KwikPen) options. The vial is priced at $137.35 while KwikPens pack of five will cost $265.20.

Lilly claims that currently 43% of the patients pay $0 for their insulins and 95% pay $95 or less a month for the same. However, still many patients have not been able to access their insulins. Insulin Lispro should help many more patients, specially those who are uninsured, have high-deductible health insurance or Medicare Part D plans to be able to access their insulins.

Humalog brought in sales of almost $3 billion in 2018, up 5% year over year and $730.8 million in the first quarter of 2019, down 8% year over year. The branded drug will remain available for those wishing to access it through existing insurance plans.

Lilly’s stock has risen 2% this year so far against a 0.9% decrease 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.

Earlier this 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 #3 (Hold).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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