Drug company to launch half-price generic insulin

    A vial of one of the most popular insulin brands, Humalog, was $21 in 1996 when it first came on the market (WGME)<p>{/p}

    NATIONWIDE (WGME) - Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly is introducing a generic version of its insulin that will sell at half the price, according to a Monday morning announcement from the company.

    U.S. drug makers have been facing growing pressure over the skyrocketing cost of insulin, a life-saving drug for people with diabetes, which has nearly doubled in cost in just the past few years.

    [Related: Lawsuit accuses insulin makers of deceptive drug pricing]

    [Related: Drug executives face U.S. lawmakers on high prices of prescription]

    The new, generic version will be called Insulin Lispro and will have a list price 50% lower than the company's Humalog list price.

    • Insulin Lispro vial: $137.35
    • Humalog vial: $274.70

    Insulin Lispro will also be available in a five-pack pen option for $265.20.

    Insulin Lispro will have the same molecule as Humalog, according to Lilly, meaning the product will be identical except for the label.

    While this change is a step in the right direction, all of us in the health care community must do more to fix the problem of high out-of-pocket costs for Americans living with chronic conditions. We hope our announcement is a catalyst for positive change across the U.S. health care system. -David A. Ricks, Lilly's chairman and CEO

    Lilly said vials and pens of the lower-priced insulin have already been manufactured and the company will work to make the products available in pharmacies as quickly as possible.

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