‘This will be very helpful’: Endocrinologist, type 1 diabetic parent react to Eli Lilly insulin price cap

“This will be very helpful”: Endocrinologist, type 1 diabetic parent react to Eli Lilly insulin price cap
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 11:13 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Insulin manufacturer Eli Lilly announced Wednesday that they are capping insulin drug costs at $35 per month. The change is effective immediately for patients with commercial insurance and at most pharmacies.

The expensive drug has led to type one diabetics paying hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars. The price cap comes as lawmakers are pushing for a more affordable drug that people with type 1 diabetes need to live.

“I think that when you have folks that are having to ration their care, because of costs, this will be very helpful,” Dr. John Parker, an endocrinologist with Wilmington Health, said. “I think that’s very good news for patients, for families.”

The announcement from Eli Lilly came as a sigh of relief for many, including Traci Hedgepeth.

Her 23-year-old son was diagnosed with type one diabetes about three months ago and has been rationing his insulin since day one because of the price, leaving him with higher, unhealthy blood sugar readings.

“It has been a super scary roller coaster since then,” Hedgepeth wrote.

Hedgepeth said every day is a different battle that is draining both financially and psychologically.

Dr. Parker said this move could be life changing for many type one diabetics.

“Truthfully, when you’re living with diabetes or other chronic conditions, you don’t need the undue stress and burden placed on you. I mean, it shouldn’t be your role to try to solve these problems. Problems that these are things that you should be helped with so that you can remain happy and healthy and productive.”

Dr. Parker added that this change could pave the way for others to make the move, too.

“I think for Eli Lilly to commit in this fashion, should have positive effects on the other manufacturers,” Dr. Parker said. “You have folks in a business who realize that some things don’t matter, money is not everything, it’s people is taking good care of folks who are living with type one diabetes.”

Hedgepeth added that she hopes all insulin manufacturers make this move so both types of insulin that her son takes are affordable.

In addition to insulin costs, many diabetics also need supplies to inject the insulin into their bodies, which can get pricey too.

Hedgepeth lost her dad to diabetes complications when he was just 42 years old, but this price cap gives her hope that her son won’t have to suffer, too.

“I just pray every day that they find a cure for what killed my daddy at 42, and that my son will be on this earth for a long time to come,” Hedgepeth wrote.

For more information on the price cap, click here.

Other solutions to the pricey drug

Dr. Parker mentioned that there are some ways around the current high prices of insulin.

“We have to make sure that through their physicians in their offices, their medical practices, that they’re aware of the opportunities that do exist.”

In recent years, some manufacturers have provided coupons to help make different insulins affordable for everyone, but this cap avoids jumping through multiple hoops to pay a lower, more affordable price up front.

Your doctor also may be able to write a prior authorization to make an expensive insulin option more affordable if they think that’s the best route for you.

Overall, Dr. Parker said he hopes this change sparks a bigger conversation for more positive change in the industry. He also hopes it leads to more people understanding the chronic disease and awareness about insulin prices.