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Eli Lilly caps insulin costs at $35 a month

The move will bring relief to more than 300,000 Coloradans living with diabetes.

DENVER — Drug manufacturer Eli Lilly announced Wednesday it will cap the out-of-pocket cost of its insulin at $35 a month. The move will bring relief to more than 300,000 Coloradans living with diabetes.

The cost of insulin was previously not affordable for many in the diabetic community. According to the American Diabetes Association, the average price of insulin has nearly tripled since 2002. Denver resident Gail DeVore was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old. 

"Now others will have that same opportunity to be able to afford their insulin and truly it's absolutely a miracle — the best news I can wake up to," DeVore said. 

According to the American Diabetes Association, one in four Americans with diabetes reported rationing their insulin or other diabetes supplies since the start of the pandemic. This new cost aims to curb that. 

"I've had periods in my life where I've had to ration my insulin just to make it to the next time my insurance would pay for the next prescription and refill," DeVore added. "Insulin is no longer going to be that barrier to having decent management of type 1 or any type of diabetes." 

Denver Health physician Ro Pereira agrees. She told 9NEWS the announcement is lifesaving. 

"We have many, many patients who come to me and say I can't afford my insulin and I haven't been using what you prescribe because I can't," Dr. Pereira said. "So to make it affordable to everybody is really just wonderful." 

The cap automatically applies to people with private insurance. People without insurance will be eligible for that price as long as they sign up for Eli Lilly's co-pay assistance program. 

For DeVore, the battle is not over. She said blood sugar devices, insulin pumps and some medications for type 2 diabetes are all still very expensive so they need to continue to fight for affordability. 

"We just have to keep up that pressure to make sure that the rest of what we need as diabetics that we can also have access to it without price being a barrier," she said. 

The American Diabetes Association applauded Eli Lilly's announcement and encouraged other insulin manufacturers to follow suit. Experts in the community believe that is a possibility. 

"I think this is usually what happens when one company will do this and then everybody else will follow suit," Dr. Pereira added. "So I believe that’s what is going to happen." 


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