Novo Nordisk announced it will expand the company’s insulin affordability offering in the U.S. beginning on January 2, 2020.
The news comes at a time of a growing global outcry for more affordable insulin pricing.
The company said in a statement it aims to bring forth programs that will directly benefit even more people with diabetes – including those with insurance and those without.
The expanded Novo Nordisk affordability options available next year will include the following:
- $99.00 Cash Card Program for Analog Insulins: Allows people with diabetes to purchase up to three vials or two packs of FlexPen®/FlexTouch® pens of any combination of Novo Nordisk analog insulins (3000 – 3600 Units total depending on brands) for a flat cost of $99.00. Studies and clinical experience suggest that is an adequate supply to cover the monthly needs of most people with diabetes. This program is being made available from the Novo Nordisk US affiliate Novo Nordisk Inc. (NNI)
- NovoLog® and NovoLog® Mix Follow-On Brands (also known as an authorized generic): Follow-on brand versions of NovoLog® and NovoLog® Mix will be made available from the newly established Novo Nordisk US affiliate Novo Nordisk Pharma Inc. (NNPI) The follow-on brands will be priced at a 50 percent discount compared to the current list price of the branded versions. NovoLog® is Novo Nordisk’s most widely prescribed insulin, used by approximately one million people with diabetes in the US.
- Insulin Aspart and Insulin Aspart Protamine/Insulin Aspart (Insulin Aspart Mix) follow-on brands (FOB) will be available in vials and pens at the following list prices:
Follow-On Brand (FOB) List Prices:
- Insulin Aspart FOB 10mL vial/1000 Units: $144.68
- Insulin Aspart FOB 5x3mL Penfill® (box of 5 pens)/1500 Units: $268.73
- Insulin Aspart FOB 5x3mL FlexPen® (box of 5 pens)/1500 Units: $279.41
- Insulin Aspart Mix 70/30 FOB 10mL vial/1000 Units: $150.06
- Insulin Aspart Mix 70/30 FOB 5x3mL FlexPen® (box of 5 pens)/1500 Units: $279.41
- NovoLog® and NovoLog® Mix will still be available from NNI for those who wish to continue using it.
The company acknowledges that insulin affordability requires long-term reform.
“While we will continue to do what we can to help address affordability challenges in the short-term, changes within the system are required to make sustainable and meaningful affordability a reality,” the company said in a press release.
What a patient pays for medicine is also influenced by insurance benefit design and pricing, according to the company.
While Novo Nordisk has acknowledged the role of list price, more needs to be done to improve how insurance benefits cover vital medicines, especially through high deductible health plans, which require patients to fulfill a deductible, which sometimes means paying thousands of dollars.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently designated insulin as preventive medicine.
This allows high deductible health plans to cover insulin immediately, so patients only have to pay a co-pay versus requiring patients to pay list price until their deductible is met.
That must be adopted by health plans – it’s not automatic – and Novo Nordisk is encouraging its payer customers to adopt this rule.
“People with diabetes need more affordable options and we are going to continue doing what we can now while also working with other healthcare stakeholders on longer-term system reform,” said Doug Langa, executive vice president, North America Operations and president of Novo Nordisk Inc. “For instance, we support the recent IRS ruling that classifies diabetes medications as preventive care. We believe this has the potential to help a significant number of people with diabetes from an affordability perspective.”
Langa said Novo Nordisk also wants to do more to make people aware of all the programs and options across its companies that may benefit them and are continuously working to ensure they are easier to access and navigate.
“We know that people have different challenges depending on their situation and encourage them to contact us to learn how we may be able to help,” said Langa.
The new options build upon programs Novo Nordisk already offers including a Patient Assistance Program (PAP) that provides free medicines to eligible patients who do not have insurance; Medicare patients who incur high costs while in the Part D coverage gap or who do not have Part D coverage and have been denied the Extra-Help/Low-Income subsidy; and patients who are Medicaid eligible but have been denied Medicaid.
Novo Nordisk human insulin is also available at Walmart for about $25/vial for 15 years. In 2017, the company partnered with CVS Health and ESI to expand the $25 human insulin offering to tens of thousands of pharmacies nationwide.
Human insulin in a convenient pen injection device through Walmart is also available.
Novo Nordisk also provides assistance to patients through coupons and co-pay cards.
To learn more about Novo Nordisk affordability options, patients can visit NovoCare.com or call 1.800.727.6500.
- Novo Nordisk. (2019, September 6). Novo Nordisk launching additional US insulin affordability offerings in January 2020. PR Newswire. Retrieved September 6, 2019, from https://prnmedia.prnewswire.com/news-releases/novo-nordisk-launching-additional-us-insulin-affordability-offerings-in-january-2020-300913167.html