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Breakthrough In Insulin Pricing

Nov 10, 2018
 

Author: Steve Freed, R.PH., CDE


With pressure from patients, elected representatives and the medical community, we are finally seeing some positive results in lowering the cost of a life-sustaining drug.

According to a recent survey, about a quarter of diabetes patients use less insulin than prescribed because they can’t afford it, and they have worse glycemic control because of it. The soaring cost of insulin has been in the news following a more than 300% increase from 2004-2018. The cash price for a 10 mL vial of insulin lispro (Humalog), for example, has climbed from $59 to $320. The American Diabetes Association recently released a white paper on the issue, citing a “lack of transparency throughout the insulin supply chain” that obscures the reasons for the surge. In order to see how this rise in price has affected patients, they asked 200 patients to complete a questionnaire. Six questions were key: In the past 12 months, did you, because of cost, use less insulin than prescribed; try to stretch out your insulin; take smaller doses of insulin than prescribed; stop insulin; not fill an insulin prescription; or not start insulin? Fifty-one patients answered “yes” to at least one of those questions, signaling to investigators that they were using less insulin than prescribed because they couldn’t afford it. Compared with other patients, they were three times more likely to have HbA1c levels above 9%, controlling for age, sex, diabetes duration, and income (P = 0.03). One in four patients was using less of an essential medication because it costs too much for them to take the prescribed amount. The problem was greatest among people making less than $100,000 dollars a year, and was not associated with race or the type of diabetes they had. Employer health coverage was not protective, and patients who were covered by a mix of government and employer insurance were at greater risk of underuse, as were those who were unable to work.

 

Well, the pressure on the manufacturers is finally paying off. Sanofi has expanded its access program for people living with diabetes to include all Sanofi insulins*, helping patients get the insulin they need at a significantly reduced price. Sanofi’s Insulins VALyou Savings Program debuted earlier this year, offering qualifying patients the opportunity to obtain two of Sanofi’s insulins at a set price. This program will now include all Sanofi insulins. This program is available at U.S. pharmacies and offers all Sanofi insulins at one set price: $99 for a 10 mL vial or $149 for a box of pens. For some people, the program could offer a savings of up to $3,000 per year.  All uninsured and commercially insured patients are eligible to participate in the Insulins VALyou Savings Program. This includes cash-paying patients who don’t qualify for traditional patient assistance programs, can’t take advantage of our commercial co-pay offers, or haven’t reached their high deductible on their commercial insurance. Sanofi continues to offer other resources to make insulins more affordable, including co-pay cards, which may limit out-of-pocket expenses to as low as $0 for eligible, commercially insured patients. In addition, Sanofi offers assistance programs that provide medications, including insulin, at no charge for qualified low-income, uninsured patients through the patient assistance component of the Sanofi Patient Connection program. Together, these programs demonstrate the company’s dedication to find support to help people living with diabetes gain access to the insulins they need.

Reference:

Sanofi’s Insulins VALyou Savings Program. https://www.admelog.com/insulins-valyou-savings-program/?utm_campaign=valyou