Novo Nordisk is slashing costs of a number of insulin merchandise by as much as 75% amid rising political scrutiny on the costs of those older however nonetheless costly diabetes medicines. The announcement Tuesday comes two weeks after rival Eli Lilly unveiled worth cuts for its insulin merchandise, however in contrast to Lilly’s new pricing, which is able to begin this spring for some merchandise, Novo Nordisk’s new insulin costs received’t take impact till 2024.
The Novo Nordisk merchandise lined underneath the brand new checklist costs embody the long-acting insulins Levemir and Novolin, which is able to see 65% worth cuts. Levemir will value $107.85 per vial and $161.77 for product dosed with the FlexPen supply system. Novolin will value $48.20 per vial and $91.09 per FlexPen. The fast-acting insulin merchandise Novolog and Novolog Combine 70/30 will see 75% worth cuts to $72.34 per vial, $139.71 per FlexPen.
Denmark-based Novo Nordisk, which maintains a U.S. headquarters in Plainsboro, New Jersey, additionally stated it would cut back the checklist worth for unbranded biologics to match the lower cost of the corresponding branded insulin. Unbranded biologics are the branded product marketed underneath a unique title. The decrease costs cowl Insulin Aspart, which is the unbranded biologic of Novolog, and Insulin Aspart Protamine/Insulin Aspart, which is unbranded Novolog Combine 70/30.
Novo Nordisk can afford to chop insulin costs as a result of it’s seeing fast progress from different merchandise. Whereas the corporate’s insulins are blockbuster sellers, their gross sales progress has flattened. The corporate reported 38.7 billion Danish krone (about $5.6 billion) in 2022 income for all of its insulin merchandise, down almost 3% from the prior 12 months and simply 1% larger in comparison with two years in the past. In the meantime, the drugmaker is seeing sturdy gross sales progress from diabetes and weight problems medicines in its semaglutide franchise. Ozempic, a sort 2 diabetes drug that works by activating the GLP-1 receptor, is way and away Novo Nordisk’s largest single product with 17.3 billion Danish krone (about $2.5 billion) in 2022 gross sales, up greater than 96% from the prior 12 months.
Rybelsus, a GLP-1-targeting drug that like Ozempic, incorporates semaglutide however in an oral formulation, posted 3.1 billion Danish krone (about $455 million) in gross sales final 12 months, a greater than 500% improve over 2021 gross sales. In January, the FDA expanded Rybelsus’s approval to incorporate first-line therapy of sort 2 diabetes. Allowing the drug to be used as an earlier therapy additional expands the marketplace for the product. Novo Nordisk is seeing sturdy demand for the semaglutide-containing weight-loss drug Wegovy, which received its FDA approval in mid-2021. Demand for Wegovy and Ozempic to be used in treating weight problems has strained the corporate’s manufacturing capability, resulting in shortages.
The insulin market is dominated by three corporations: Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi. Since Eli Lilly’s announcement in the beginning of March that it might lower checklist costs for its insulin merchandise by as much as 70%, some lawmakers have been calling on Novo Nordisk and Sanofi to do the identical.
A $35 per thirty days worth cap on insulin went into impact in the beginning of this 12 months, however just for Medicare beneficiaries. That worth cap was one of many provisions of the wide-ranging Inflation Discount Act. Lilly’s pricing announcement prolonged the month-to-month cap to all insured diabetes sufferers who take the pharmaceutical firm’s insulins. Those that aren’t lined by medical insurance might enroll in a program that makes all of Lilly’s insulins accessible for $35 a month.
Novo Nordisk stated that it at present provides co-pay financial savings playing cards for sufferers lined by business insurance coverage. These playing cards allow eligible sufferers to pay month-to-month co-pays of $25 to $35 for a number of of the corporate’s insulin merchandise. In its announcement, Novo Nordisk stated it has been working to determine “a sustainable method to scale back insulin prices for sufferers that addresses adjustments in well being coverage and market shifts.”
“We now have been working to develop a sustainable path ahead that balances affected person affordability, market dynamics, and evolving coverage adjustments,” Steve Albers, Novo Nordisk’s senior vp of market Entry and public affairs, stated in a ready assertion. “Novo Nordisk stays dedicated to making sure sufferers dwelling with diabetes can afford our insulins, a duty we take severely.”
Picture by Jean-Francois Monier/AFP, through Getty Photos