Sanofi to cut insulin prices for uninsured from $99 to $35, matching the insulin cap coming through Congress
As the House-passed bill to cap the monthly price of insulin at $35 nationwide makes its way for a Senate vote soon, Sanofi announced Wednesday morning that beginning next month it will cut the monthly price of its insulins for uninsured Americans to $35, down from $99 previously.
The announcement from Sanofi, which allows the uninsured to buy one or multiple Sanofi insulins (Lantus, Insulin Glargine U-100, Toujeo, Admelog, and Apidra) at $35 for a 30-day supply effective July 1, follows House passage (232-193) of the monthly cap in March, with just 12 Republicans voting in favor of the measure.
While both the Senate and the House bills effectively cut what many of those who rely on insulin to stay alive will pay at the pharmacy counter, it doesn’t hit the prices set by the pharma manufacturers, nor does it help those who are uninsured. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) similarly said in March that a vote was coming soon then.
Insulin juggernaut Eli Lilly — one of the big three manufacturers along with Novo Nordisk and Sanofi — previously told Endpoints News exclusively that it supports the bill.
A Sanofi spokesperson similarly said the company supported the bill but with some reservations, telling Endpoints via email:
While we support the $35 out-of-pocket cap for patients, the way this bill would achieve that goal is unnecessarily complicated and bureaucratic, which could result in unanticipated distortions in other parts of the drug distribution system. Instead, Congress should pursue a simpler $35 co-pay cap which would deliver faster and greater savings for all patients.
Sanofi, meanwhile, says that all commercially insured people are eligible for its co-pay assistance programs, regardless of income or insurance, “which limits out-of-pocket expenses for a majority of people between $0 and $10.” But the company also confirmed that some diabetics taking Sanofi’s insulins would see savings with the House bill.
In 2021, about 68% of patients with commercial insurance paid $35 or less out of pocket per fill for Sanofi’s Lantus, a spokesperson added, as did about 72% of patients with Medicare Part D.
But some insulin price advocates don’t think this latest Sanofi move really goes far enough.
“It’s not even a band-aid on a bullet wound, because it’s a voluntary program that Sanofi can end at any time,” Laura Marston, an attorney with type 1 diabetes who advocates for lower insulin prices, told Endpoints, adding:
Insulin-dependent diabetes is for life. Sanofi’s PR move is not. I am hopeful Sanofi’s new insulin coupon program will save money for the uninsured. I am dismayed we live in a country where 1 in 4 diabetics can’t afford insulin and our government leaves us to rely on half-measures by the very companies who hold our lives hostage for profit. Congress must cap the list price of insulin for all and must stand up to PhRMA on behalf of patients, even while PhRMA proclaims to be solving the insulin price crisis it alone created.