Novo Nordisk is the second big drug company to roll back the prices of some of its lifesaving insulins that millions of Americans use to control their diabetes. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, the company will lower prices of some of its products by 75 percent, the drugmaker announced on March 14.
Nordisk’s announcement comes less than two weeks after Eli Lilly, one of the three companies that produce insulin in the U.S., announced that it will cut the list price of some of its older insulins later in 2023 and mirror the new Medicare $35 monthly out-of-pocket cap for consumers with private health insurance. And on March 16, the third big insulin producer, Sanofi, announced that it will cut the price of its most popular insulin, Lantus, by 78 percent, also in 2024.
The moves by these two pharmaceutical manufacturers are seen as responses to both the Medicare $35 out-of-pocket monthly cap included in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and a call by President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address in February that costs of insulin for all Americans be capped at $35 a month.
“This is good news,” says Leigh Purvis, AARP senior director of health care costs and access. “These new insulin price reductions should help more people with diabetes afford the medication they need.” AARP has been among the strongest advocates for a lowering of all prescription drug prices and is working to educate the 50-plus population about the details of the new Medicare insulin benefit. An estimated 37 million Americans have diabetes, and more than 7 million patients rely on insulin to treat the disease.
Prices will change
According to Nordisk, these price changes will take effect Jan. 1:
- The prices of NovoLog and NovoLog Mix 70/30 will be reduced by 75 percent. Novolog’s list prices will go from $558.83 to $139.71 for the five-pack of prefilled injectable pens and from $289.36 to $72.34 for a vial of insulin.
- The prices of Novolin and Levemir are being reduced by 65 percent. After those price reductions, a vial of Novolin will cost $48.20 and the price of the drug in pen form will be $91.09. A vial of Levemir will be $107.85 and the pen packet will be priced at $161.77.
- The company says it is also reducing the list price of unbranded biologics (Insulin Aspart and Insulin Aspart Protamine/Insulin Aspart) to match the lowered price of the branded insulins whose prices are being cut.
- Nordisk also says that the programs it has to help people afford insulin will remain in place, including one through several retail pharmacies that offer insulin at $25 per vial.