Eli Lilly and Co unveils cheaper version of popular insulin injection Humalog

2019-03-05 13:59:00
Mark Emalfarb, CEO of the biopharmaceutical group Dyadic, calls the move 'a very good first step'
The half-priced version of Humalog is called insulin Lispro

Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY) has unveiled a cheaper generic version of Humalog, its insulin injection, in a bid to cut prices for diabetics.

The half-priced version of Humalog is called insulin Lispro and has the same molecule as the more expensive product, which generates annual sales of $3 billion. It will be available in vial and pen options.

A single vial will cost $137.35 while a five-pack of KwikPens will be $265.20.

“The significant rebates we pay on insulin do not directly benefit all patients. This needs to change,” said David Ricks, Lilly’s CEO. “For people with diabetes, a lower-priced insulin can serve as a bridge that addresses gaps in the system until a more sustainable model is achieved.”

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Humalog can still be purchased via standard insurance plans. But vials and pens of the cheaper insulin have been manufactured and Lilly is now looking to make them available in pharmacies as “quickly as possible.”

Mark Emalfarb, CEO of biopharmaceutical company Dyadic International Inc (OTCMKTS:DYAI), called the move “a very good first step” in what is likely to be a “long and drawn out process of making biologics more accessible and affordable” to patients.

In an email to Proactive, Emalfarb cautioned that cutting profit margins isn’t the “final solution” to “dramatically lowering the cost” of bio-manufacturing expensive biologic drugs.

Eli Lilly shares were flat at $127.26 in afternoon trade Tuesday.

Contact Ellen Kelleher at ellen@proactiveinvestors.com