Following widespread outrage at the high price of insulin, Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk announced Friday it will cut its prices in half.
“While we will continue to do what we can to help address affordability challenges in the short-term, changes within the system are required to make sustainable and meaningful affordability a reality,” said Novo in a statement.
The manufacturer will begin offering a generic version of its most prescribed insulin, NovoLog, for $144.68 a vial — half of its current price. Approximately one million U.S. patients currently use NovoLog.
Along with the half-priced NovoLog, the company will begin offering three vials (about one month’s worth) of its analogue insulin for $99 starting. Analogue insulin is a more modern version of the drug than the older “human” insulin, which is more affordable but slower acting.
Both options will be available starting January 2020.
“People with diabetes need more affordable options and we are going to continue doing what we can now while also working with other healthcare stakeholders on longer-term system reform,” said Novo’s executive vice president of North American Operations, Doug Langa.
Competing insulin makers Sanofi and Eli Lilly have also significantly reduced insulin prices in recent months.
Diabetes patients have gone to extreme lengths to cut back on the cost of drugs they depend on. Earlier this summer, a caravan of about 20 people traveled hundreds of miles to Canada in search of affordable options.
And outcry reached a fever pitch upon the death of groom-to-be Josh Wilkerson, who died in June after switching to a cheaper, over-the-counter brand of insulin after having to ration his pricey prescription. He was 27.
The announcement also comes on the heels of an April hearing held by a congressional subcommittee on the rising cost of insulin, which has nearly doubled over a five-year period for those with Type 1 diabetes, according to the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI).
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