By TOM MURPHY
AP Health Writer
INDIANAPOLIS — Eli Lilly is offering a half-price version of a top-selling insulin to ease the financial strain imposed on some patients, but an advocacy group says much bigger changes are needed.
The drugmaker said Monday it will introduce a version of the diabetes treatment Humalog that will be called Insulin Lispro and come with an initial price 50 percent lower than Humalog’s current rate of about $275 per vial.
The company said it is working to make the insulin available as quickly as possible.
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps the body use glucose for energy. When a patient’s body doesn’t make enough insulin, they have to take it by injection or through a pump.
The average insulin price nearly tripled from 2002 through 2013, according to the American Diabetes Association. Since then, prices have continued to rise, often by 10 percent or more a year, and some patients have resorted to rationing their insulin.
Humalog brought in $1.8 billion in U.S. sales and about $3 billion globally last year for Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.