Insulin cost cuts only a start to making diabetes more affordable, says expert

March 8, 2023 – Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly’s recent decision to cut costs for its most popular insulin products by 70% and to cap out-of-pocket costs for other insulin products to $35 per month was a positive move, but more work is needed to make overall diabetes care more affordable, particularly for the uninsured, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Anna Sinaiko.

Sinaiko, assistant professor of health economics and policy, was among experts quoted about the price cuts in a March 2 article in Verywell Health.

The article noted that people with private insurance and the uninsured are likely to benefit the most from the price cuts. But Sinaiko pointed out that uninsured people with diabetes face costs well beyond what they pay for insulin.

“There are a lot of barriers to getting care when you’re uninsured,” Sinaiko said. “When you first have diabetes, you need to be seen by a physician and have related health care services, and then you would get a prescription. This isn’t going to get rid of those cost barriers related to getting initial care for your diabetes.”

And since diabetes is a lifelong condition, so are its wide-ranging related health costs, Sinaiko noted.

“This $35 cap is a start to making diabetes care more affordable,” she said. “But people with diabetes often take other medications or have other diabetes-related supplies that they need to buy that are also expensive. We need policy to address those costs as well.”

Read the Verywell Health article: Who will benefit from Eli Lilly’s insulin price cuts?