Just over a week ago, Eli Lilly announced a 70% reduction in price for its most commonly prescribed insulins that resulted in a cap of patient out-of-pocket costs at $35 or less per month.
This news was huge and spread like wildfire across the diabetes online community. And for good reason – it’s something that so many people with diabetes have needed to happen for a very long time. Most reactions I saw were that of complete and utter joy and relief. I’ll admit that’s what I felt at first, too, until I saw the more displeased responses that directed additional frustration and rage at Eli Lilly for not taking this action sooner, or reducing the cost of insulin to make it free altogether. Those posts got me thinking.
I’ve had time to reflect and gather my thoughts on the matter, and I think I land somewhere between thrilled and bummed, myself.
This news is absolutely something to be celebrated, as it will undoubtedly assist people who struggle to afford insulin with astronomically high price tags. This is an issue that I’ve spoken about on the blog before, and while I feel very fortunate to never have personally struggled with affording my own insulin (though I’ve certainly complained about out-of-pocket costs in the past), I’ve read countless stories about individuals in the United States who’ve had to take drastic measures in order to obtain this life-saving medication. So this news is wonderful, for sure, but it also feels a little too late.
Is this response from Lilly induced by the pressure that they’ve felt from diabetes advocates in the last several years? Is it a genuine call to action to other insulin manufacturers to follow suit and slash prices? Is it all just some sort of PR stunt? My suspicion is that it’s a mixture of all three, and while this feels like a victory for now, I don’t think that I will personally be satisfied until all people with diabetes are able to get insulin for free – no bottom line, no gimmicks, no nothing other than access for all.