New York Attorney General Letitia James has reached agreements with insulin manufacturers Eli Lilly and Sanofi-Aventis to cap the price of insulin at $35 per monthly prescription for uninsured New Yorkers for the next five years. This comes after an investigation revealed that the list prices set by insulin manufacturers resulted in significant out-of-pocket costs for certain insulin users. Both companies also committed to offering free insulin for the neediest patients.
Over the past two decades, insulin list prices have increased dramatically, with the average list price nearly tripling between 2002 and 2013. More than 10 percent of New Yorkers have diabetes, and it is estimated that 464,000 of them rely on insulin every day. New Yorkers living in the state’s poorest neighborhoods are 70 percent more likely to have diabetes.
As part of the agreements, Lilly and Sanofi will implement a streamlined process at the pharmacy counter, allowing pharmacies to automatically advise cash-paying consumers of their ability to fill their monthly prescription for $35. Lilly will continue working with national relief agencies to offer insulin products free of charge in high-need geographical locations, while Sanofi will offer free insulin to the neediest consumers who meet income thresholds tied to the federal poverty line.
New York officials applauded the agreements, with Westchester County Executive George Latimer stating, “This is a major victory for public health and social justice,” and expressing hope that other states will follow New York’s lead in ensuring access to affordable insulin for all Americans.
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