Senate looks to take up House-passed measure to cap insulin prices — a move Eli Lilly supports
The familiar bipartisan pair of Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) unveiled a bill today, which Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said would come for a vote soon, to curb monthly insulin costs to $35.
The duo has been working to get something on insulin passed since at least 2019, although it’s unclear if they’ll win over enough Republican support, even as the list prices of insulin have continued to skyrocket.
Schumer on Collins/Shaheen insulin bill: "I will put this bipartisan legislation on the Senate floor very soon – it ought to be passed expeditiously"
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) June 22, 2022
The House passed (232-193) the same 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. Schumer similarly said in March that a vote was coming soon then.
And some of the biggest players in the insulin space on the manufacturing and development side are fine with this bill too.
“We just received the working draft and will be reviewing it this week. But, we are encouraged by the patient-centric language that is a step in the right direction,” an Eli Lilly spokesperson told Endpoints News this afternoon via email.
Three drugmakers control the more than $20 billion insulin market — Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi — which has ballooned in the US. The current price of insulin in the U.S. is more than 10 times that of 33 other comparable countries, even as the net price of insulin has declined in recent years. Novo in 2021 settled a suit for $100 million after being accused of raising the price of its insulin drugs 450% above the rate of inflation.
Those major differences in list and net price for insulin have led the Federal Trade Commission to recently look into PBMs and the way they can drive this spread. But other congressional reports have noted the lock-step list price increases among the top three.
Still, any out-of-pocket savings the Biden administration can forge from insulin could be good news at the polls for Biden as more than 37 million Americans live with diabetes, including an estimated one in every three seniors.