Novo Nordisk cuts insulin prices by up to 75%

Novo, one of the largest sellers of insulin in the US and around the world, said on Tuesday it would cut the list price of its NovoLog insulin by 75% and prices for Novolin and Levemir by 65% ​​from January 2024.

In addition, Novo plans to lower prices for its off-label insulin products to match the reduced price of Novo’s corresponding brands.

“We have been working to develop a sustainable path forward that balances patient affordability, market dynamics and evolving policy changes,” said Steve Albers, a Novo senior vice president. “Novo Nordisk remains committed to ensuring that patients with diabetes can afford our insulins, a responsibility we take seriously.”

Many people with insurance may not see a corresponding reduction in costs because they pay fixed monthly copays. Still, uninsured people and those with high deductible health insurance policies may see lower costs as a result of the price reductions.

Novo’s price cuts follow Eli Lilly & Co’s decision. earlier this month to cut list prices for the most commonly prescribed insulin products by 70%, effective Q4 2023. Lilly also said it would expand a $35 monthly limit for patients’ out-of-pocket costs, below other steps.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state will begin making its own insulin to help lower the cost of diabetes medications. WSJ explains how insulin has become so expensive in the US and examines whether a policy initiative such as the one in California could succeed in bringing costs down. Photo Illustration: Ryan Trefes

President Biden said he was pleased with Novo’s price cuts and urged other insulin makers to follow suit. He also said Congress should “limit insulin to $35 for all Americans.”

Lilly, Novo and Sanofi on

are the leading sellers of insulins in the US and worldwide. They had significantly increased the prices for their insulin products in the US in the 2010s. The companies have said they didn’t make much money from the higher list prices because they had to pay bigger rebates to the companies that manage the drug benefits.

Before the price cuts, the products, including NovoLog, one of the most widely used insulins in the US, cost hundreds of dollars a month. Levemir is also widely used.

Novo’s NovoLog currently has a list price of $558.83 for a pack of five injection pens and $289.36 for a vial, though the company said most people with commercial insurance and Medicare don’t pay the list price.

After the price cuts take effect, those list prices will drop to $139.71 and $72.34, respectively, Novo said.

The price reductions relate to insulins that come in both vials and injection pens.

Novo said it is not announcing changes to certain existing savings programs aimed at limiting patients’ out-of-pocket costs. Under one program, copays for several of the company’s insulins are only $25 to $35 for eligible, insured patients. The company also offers a 30-day supply of a combination of insulins for $99.

For Novo, the list price cuts shouldn’t materially hurt sales because the company already pays relatively large discounts to insurers and other payers, reducing the portion of list prices that flow to the company. Novo’s insulin sales have declined in recent years. Analysts predict sales of its non-insulin diabetes drugs will grow, especially sales of Ozempic, which many people use for weight loss.

Novo said the financial impact of the planned price cuts is uncertain.

Sanofi said Tuesday it has programs to help patients pay for their insulin, such as limiting copays for insured patients and offering a 30-day supply of insulin for $35 to uninsured patients.


What do the new insulin price cuts mean for you or the people you know? Join the conversation below.

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels, where the body doesn’t produce insulin, doesn’t make enough insulin, or doesn’t use it properly. It affects an estimated 37 million people in the U.S. Many people with diabetes use insulin to control their blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled levels can cause both immediate and long-term health problems.

However, many people without insurance or with high deductible health insurance policies have struggled to pay for the products, and some have been forced to ration use.

To ease the burden, some U.S. states have introduced caps on insulin costs in recent years. Last year’s Inflation Reduction Act required patients covered by the federal Medicare health insurance program to pay no more than $35 per month in copays or other out-of-pocket expenses for an insulin prescription.

Mr. Biden, in his State of the Union address in February, called for that $35 monthly cap to be expanded beyond Medicare to include every diabetic patient. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), working with the Democrats, recently called on insulin manufacturers to limit monthly list prices to $20 per vial.

Novo Nordisk had taken previous steps to make its insulin products more affordable for patients. It sells a version of its insulin for $25 a vial through Walmart Inc.

stores and has the copay savings program for those with commercial insurance. It also offers one-time 30-day supplies to people at risk of insulin rationing, and free diabetes medication to people who meet income-based criteria.

Write to Peter Loftus at

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