Insulin costs will be capped for uninsured New Yorkers

Published: May. 2, 2023 at 4:53 PM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - If you’re uninsured, the price you pay for insulin will be capped at $35 per month for the next five years.

State Attorney General Letitia James reached agreements Tuesday with the nation’s largest insulin manufacturers, Eli Lilly and Sanofi-Aventis U.S.

The deal comes after an AG investigation found that the list prices set by insulin makers for patients “resulted in significant out-of-pocket costs for certain insulin users, causing some to ration their insulin or forgo it altogether.”

Any uninsured New Yorker who uses Lilly or Sanofi insulin products will not be charged more than $35 for a monthly supply of insulin for the next five years.

According to the AG, from 2002 to 2013, the average list prices for insulin products from all manufacturers nearly tripled.

For a person with Type 1 diabetes, annual spending on insulin averaged $2,864 in 2012, and that spending increased to an average of $5,705 in 2016.

The AG said the cost increases were not driven by insulin manufacturing costs, which by one estimate would be no more than $133 per person per year.

More than 10 percent of New Yorkers have diabetes, and it is estimated that 464,000 of them rely on insulin every day.

As part of these agreements, Lilly and Sanofi have committed to offering affordable programs that ensure that no patient walks away from a pharmacy empty-handed because they could not afford their insulin.

Both Lilly and Sanofi have agreed to implement a streamlined process at the pharmacy counter that would allow pharmacies to automatically advise cash-paying consumers of their ability to fill their monthly prescriptions for $35, before leaving the pharmacy.

Lilly has also agreed to continue working with national relief agencies to identify high-need geographical locations throughout New York and to offer insulin products free of charge, through national relief agencies, to more eligible non-profit clinics in those locations.

Those clinics can then offer insulin products for free in those areas that are the most in need.

Sanofi has also agreed to offer free insulin to the neediest consumers who meet income thresholds tied to the federal poverty line.