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Lilly offers $35 insulin co-pay program

MORGANTOWN — Lilly, one of three pharmaceutical companies that make insulin, announced this week that it has created a Lilly Insulin Value Program that will allow the commercially insured and the uninsured to fill their prescriptions for $35 per month.

The program comes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lilly said, and comes in the form of a savings card that can be obtained by calling the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center at 833-808-1234. The Solution Center is open 8 am to 8 pm Eastern time Monday through Friday.

The program is effective immediately and covers most Lilly insulins including all Humalog formulations, Lilly said. For those who already have Lilly co-pay cards for an amount higher than $35, the company said, no action is necessary; they have been re-set to a $35 co-pay.

It was unclear in the announcement if the program is temporary or permanent, but Lilly spokesman Greg Kueterman said, “Given the dynamic nature of the U.S. healthcare system we must continually assess all programs, ensuring our solutions remain relevant and helpful. We have no current plans to stop this program.”

Because of federal guidelines, Lilly said, seniors with Medicare Part D plans are not eligible for a co-pay card, but they can call the Solution Center to see if they are eligible for another option, such as donated insulin for people with lower incomes or Insulin Lispro Injection, a non-branded version of Humalog U-100 with a 50 percent lower list price.

Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, notified The Dominion Post of the program. She led an insulin caravan bus trip to Canada in December to allow some insulin users to buy lower-cost medicine across the border, and this spring co-sponsored and championed a bill, HB 4543, that set the maximum monthly insulin copay at $100.

“It is really great news. It isn’t total victory… but $35 is fine,” she said, The original HB 4543 set the co-pay cap at $25 but the Senate upped it to $100 and the House reluctantly agreed rather than let the bill die. “This will really, really help a lot of West Virginians. … I hope the other two companies step up.

Those companies are Sanofi and Novo Nordisk.

Fleischauer said she regrets that the program doesn’t cover Medicare D patients.

On the insulin bus in December, The Dominion Post spoke with Judy Alexander, who is covered by Medicare and said her monthly costs vary because of the Medicare doughnut hole. Co-pays are low up to a certain point, then rise once she hits the hole, then drop again when expenses hit the “catastrophic” level. In 2019, through Sept. 30, she’d paid $5,194.

At the start of 2018, with deductibles due, she said, she had to pay out $3,700 in one shot. She had to put it on a credit card and pay that off in stages.

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