House committee questions Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk as insulin prices remain 'unacceptably high'
House Energy & Commerce Committee leaders sent three letters on Thursday to execs at Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, raising concerns that despite their supposed concern over the past two years with the price of insulin, the price still remains “unacceptably high.”
Committee chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and subcommittee chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) note in all three letters that the price of insulin in the US is more than 10 times that of 33 other countries, according to a Rand study.
The letters seek answers on the more recent list and net price increases, from between 2019 and today.
In the letter to Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson, the lawmakers also reference the company’s own 2021 pricing report, which says the average out-of-pocket costs for a patient using one of its insulin products have increased 82% since 2012.
“Given your company’s representations in 2019 that this is a shared concern, we are interested in learning what has been done to alleviate this issue since that time,” they wrote.
To Lilly CEO Dave Ricks, Pallone and DeGette note that, “While your 2020 pricing report states that you have not raised prices on your Humalog insulin product since 2017, it is not enough to simply maintain an unjustifiably high price for insulin.”
Congressional letters and hearings on the price of insulin have occurred frequently over the past several years, in addition to the recent FDA approval of the first interchangeable biosimilar for insulin. Still, none of this work has actually lowered the price of insulin yet. Diabetics, on average, spent $5,705 on their insulin in 2016.
Six other House Democrats sent a letter in March to the FTC calling for an investigation into the potential collusion of these three companies.