Sanofi to slash U.S. list prices of Lantus insulin by 78%
Sanofi SA (SASY.PA) said on Thursday it will cut U.S. list prices for its most-prescribed insulin product, Lantus, by 78% starting next year after similar moves by rivals Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO) and Eli Lilly and Co (LLY.N).
The French drugmaker will also extend its $35 out-of-pocket pricing program to all patients with commercial insurance using Lantus.
The move comes as U.S. President Joe Biden has pushed to extend to most Americans the $35 cap on out-of-pocket insulin costs made available to Medicare recipients by the Inflation Reduction Act.
In addition to Lantus, Sanofi said it will cut by 70% the list price for its fast-acting insulin, Apidra.
Sanofi stated that it already provided a lower-cost version of Lantus, but that it had not been widely adopted by insurance programs.
Lantus has a branded retail price of $438.07 for pre-filled pens and $292.07 for a 10 ml vial. These would be $96 and $64, respectively.
According to the business, it controls 40% of the long-acting insulin market in the United States and 4% of the rapid-acting insulin market.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 8.4 million of the 37 million diabetics in the United States use insulin.
Novo Nordisk announced on Tuesday that it would reduce list costs for several insulin products in the United States by up to 75% next year. This followed Lilly’s March 2 move to reduce list prices for its most frequently prescribed insulin products, Humalog and Humulin, by 70%.
Most Americans with insurance do not pay full price for insulin on a regular basis, but they may have a co-pay depending on the drug’s list price or pay full price up to a certain amount of money spent.
Uninsured patients are frequently required to pay the full list price, causing many patients to ration or skip doses. Aside from insurance, the businesses provide savings programs.
The price cuts will enable Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, and Lilly, which control roughly 90% of the US insulin market, to avoid paying significant rebates to the US government’s Medicaid program in 2024.
Drug companies are obliged by law in the United States to rebate the Medicaid program if yearly price increases on medicines outpace inflation. The legislation set the maximum payments at the cost of the drug, but that limit will be lifted in January 2024.
“With the price drop, Sanofi will actually make money off Lantus in Medicaid, where it would have had to pay Medicaid at current prices,” said Dr. Inmaculada Hernandez, a drug pricing expert and assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego.