Lilly feels the Bern over insulin pricing
- Senator Bernie Sanders pulled a Clinton on Eli Lilly & Co., sending the company's shares down on Tuesday after a slew of messages on Twitter about the high price of insulin.
- The Senator's Tweets were spurred by an article that appeared in The Washington Post on October 31 about the history of insulin and its drastic price increases, taken even as the epidemic of diabetes continues to grow.
- Similar Tweets from Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton have sent shares of biotech and pharma stocks cascading downward on multiple occasions, after she called out the industry on drug price increases.
High drug prices have been a hot topic for over a year now and are reaching a crescendo with the presidential election less than a week away.
While most of the focus has been on oncology and hepatitis C drugs, as well as the recent spotlight on Mylan's EpiPen, Sanders' recent social media blitz targeted the rising price of insulin.
Why has the price of Humalog insulin gone up 700% in 20 years? It's simple. The drug industry's greed. pic.twitter.com/SUeSbsr2Ka— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 1, 2016
Insulin prices have been highlighted recently in the wake of decisions by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) Express Scripts and CVS Health to leave certain insulin products off their national formulary lists.
"A permanent solution that gives everyone who uses insulin reasonable access will require leadership and cooperation across many stakeholders, including manufacturers, PBMs, payers, and policymakers," said Lilly in an emailed statement.
"That’s because the answer itself isn’t simple. For instance, while the list price for Humalog has gone up, Lilly actually receives a lower average net price now than in 2009. When Lilly released third quarter earnings on October 25, the biggest miss noted was Humalog, whose U.S. revenue fell 14%, driven by a 24% decline in net price," the company added.
The insulin market is dominated by three companies: Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi — all of which have struggled with the new pricing dynamic. Novo Nordisk in particular has been making cuts to staff and changing out its leadership in response to the external pressures.
- The Washington Post Why treating diabetes keeps getting more expensive
- BioPharma Dive Why certain drugs don't make the formulary
- BioPharma Dive Insulin maker become casualties of pricing war
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