Sanofi Inc. on Thursday became the third company to announce it will slash prices on its insulin products.
The French company announced that it will cut prices by 78% and cap out-of-pocket charges for its insulin, brand named Lantus, at $35 per month. The company will also lower prices on its short-acting insulin, Apidra, by 70%.
“Sanofi believes that no one should struggle to pay for their insulin and we are proud of our continued actions to improve access and affordability for millions of patients for many years," Olivier Bogillot, head of U.S. General Medicines at Sanofi, said in a news release. "Our decision to cut the list price of our lead insulin needs to be coupled with broader change to the overall system to actually drive savings for patients at the pharmacy counter.”
Sanofi joins both Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, which made similar price cut announcements earlier this month, as well as Medicare, which has begun limiting insulin costs for seniors.
The Sanofi changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
"It seemed like only a matter of time" before Sanofi also made changes, Stacie Dusetzina, a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., told NBC News. "You don't want to be a standout.”
Together, the three companies supply about 90% of insulin used in the United States, NBC News reported.
In addition to to the Medicare caps, a new Medicaid rebate policy is credited with prompting the price cuts. That policy will penalize drug makers if their medication prices outpace inflation.
“This is a big deal,” Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at KFF, told NBC News. “This is a combination of market forces, government Medicaid rebate policies and public pressure.”
Insulin prices have been much higher in the United States than in other countries, where 8.4 million Americans rely on the medication, according to NBC News.
The American Diabetes Association has more on insulin.
SOURCE: NBC News