Company follows Eli Lilly to reduce patient costs as federal health care leaders tout effects of new laws on drug prices.
Another pharmaceutical company will cut its prices for prefilled insulin pens and vials.
Drug maker Novo Nordisk Inc. announced a 75% price cut is coming in January 2024 for people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Novo Nordisk is also reducing the list price of unbranded biologics to match the lowered price of each respective branded insulin.
The news follows Eli Lilly and Co.’s March 1 announcement that it will cut its insulin prices by 70% and expand its program that caps patient out-of-pocket costs at $35 a month. Both actions come as the administration of President Joe Biden have aimed at lowering drug prices as a way to improve health care across the nation.
"We have been working to develop a sustainable path forward that balances patient affordability, market dynamics, and evolving policy changes," Steve Albers, Novo Nordisk senior vice president for market access and public affairs, said in a news release. "Novo Nordisk remains committed to ensuring patients living with diabetes can afford our insulins, a responsibility we take seriously."
The company announced product price reductions for basal (long-acting), bolus (short-acting) and pre-mix insulins. Specifically Levemir® and Novolin® will be cut by 75%, while NovoLog® and NovoLog® Mix 70/30 costs will drop 75%.
The unbranded biologics Insulin Aspart and Insulin Aspart Protamine/Insulin Aspart will have prices reduced to match lowered prices of respective branded insulins.
In its announcement, the company noted its financial aid programs for eligible patients with diabetes, including unbranded biologics, Novo Nordisk Human Insulin through Walmart and CVS, Co-Pay Savings Cards with co-pays starting at $25, My$99Insulin, Immediate Supply for free 30-day supplies of insulin for eligible patients at risk of rationing, and a Patient Assistance Program for free medication for those in need.
On March 14, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra mentioned insulin prices and the actions of President Joe Biden during a media call with other federal health care leaders. They have discussed the federal efforts and effects of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act and other policies and legislation.
“No one should have to skip or ration their insulin because they can’t afford it,” Becerra said. “Thanks to the president’s new lower-cost prescription drug law, they won’t. And people on Medicare won’t be on the hook when drug companies inexplicably jack up the prices of their drugs.”
In January, HHS released a report showing that the $35 monthly insulin cap would have saved about a million and a half people with Medicare an average of about $500 on their insulin in 2020, Becerra said.
Based on the new insulin law, North Dakota led the highest average annual out-of-pocket savings per person at $805, followed by Iowa and South Dakota, at about $725 per patient per year.
“These kinds of savings will give people a little bit more breathing room, more comfort as they decide to go to the grocery store to buy their food, more ability to pay their rent, or maybe it’s just to do something decent for their grandkids,” Becerra said.