Sanofi plans to reduce the price of insulin

Facing pressure to follow a wave of industry price cuts, drugmaker Sanofi said Thursday that would reduce the label price of its most widely used insulin by 78 percent.

The company said it would also limit the out-of-pocket costs of that product for diabetes patients with private health plans to $35 per month.

Sanofi’s moves, which take effect early next year, follow similar announcements this month by the other two big insulin makers, Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk. Together, the three companies control about 90 percent of the insulin market in the United States.

The price cuts are likely to reduce how often Americans with diabetes struggle to pay for insulin, which millions depend on to stay alive. A federal law that took effect earlier this year had already capped out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 per month for people covered by Medicare.

President Biden and Democratic lawmakers have taken credit for the drugmakers’ moves, but the companies faced fewer financial incentives to keep prices of their older insulin products high. Their businesses have become more dependent on new drugs for diabetes and obesity. they also clashed imminent sorrows that would have forced them to pay back Medicaid for raising their prices faster than inflation.

For years, Sanofi repeatedly increased the list price of its most frequently prescribed insulin, Lantus, which the Food and Drug Administration first approved in 2000. the company said was getting less from its insulin products after discounts and rebates were taken into account, compared to a decade ago, and blamed insurers for not passing the savings on to patients.

Sanofi already had a program that capped monthly insulin costs at $35 per patient for the uninsured. Previously, all commercially insured patients were eligible for a Sanofi co-pay assistance program that significantly capped costs for most patients, but there was no cap. Under Sanofi’s new policy, the limit will automatically take effect at the pharmacy counter, making it easier for patients to take advantage of it.