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Warner & Kaine Applaud $35 Monthly Insulin Caps by Largest Insulin Manufacturers Following Inflation Reduction Act Implementation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine—who serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee—released the following statements applauding Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi for officially lowering the cost of their insulin products to $35 per month for most patients. The companies’ moves, which came in 2023 for Eli Lilly and January 1, 2024 for Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, followed the implementation of provisions from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which both senators voted for and passed by one vote in the Senate, to incentivize drug manufacturers to slash prices.

“When we capped insulin at $35 a month for Medicare patients as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, we put pressure on big pharmaceutical companies to do the same, and we are seeing the impact,” said Warner. “As we start the New Year, millions of Americans will pay less for the medication they need. As we move into 2024, the Senate Finance Committee will keep working on measures to lower drug prices and improve transparency for all Americans.”  

“I appreciate Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi’s decisions to step up to the plate with these $35 monthly insulin caps,” said Kaine. “No Virginian should have to ration the medication they need to stay alive. That’s why I was proud to vote for the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed in the Senate by one vote, to push drug manufacturers to lower the cost of lifesaving medications, including insulin. Making prescription drugs more affordable is one of my top priorities on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and I look forward to building on this progress.”

Specifically, the IRA set an out-of-pocket price cap for insulin at $35 per month for Americans covered by Medicare, and required drug companies to pay a rebate to the government if drug prices rise faster than inflation, spurring manufacturers to make similar changes to the cost of insulin for other patients who aren’t on Medicare.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, one in four people with private health insurance paid more than $35 per month for their insulin in 2018. The Kaiser Family Foundation also estimates than more than 5% of insulin users pay more than $150 per month for insulin. The American Diabetes Association found that diabetics account for $1 of every $4 spent on health care in the U.S.

The senators have long prioritized lowering the cost of and expanding the domestic supply chain for prescription drugs. Last year, Warner and Kaine announced the designation of the Richmond/Petersburg Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Tech Hub, which they supported to help ensure that critical pharmaceuticals, including insulin, are manufactured in America using innovative, cost-saving techniques. The senators repeatedly introduced legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate the best price of prescription drugs for seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D—a major cost-reducing measure that is now law thanks to the IRA.

Additionally, Warner, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, helped author the Modernizing and Ensuring PBM Accountability (MEPA) Act, bipartisan legislation approved by the Committee in July 2023 to help address rising prescription drug prices by regulating the middlemen who manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers. The Finance Committee also recently approved Warner-authored legislation to help lower-income seniors enroll in Medicare.

Kaine has led the introduction of the Medicare-X Choice Act, which would improve health care coverage and lower costs for Americans, and cosponsored legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs for seniors. In 2023, Kaine worked with Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) to introduce the Delinking Revenue from Unfair Gouging (DRUG) Act to lower drug costs and prevent massive Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) from price gouging consumers. Last month, Kaine and Marshall led a bipartisan group of senators in urging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Department of the Treasury to lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs by enforcing a rule limiting the use of harmful “copay accumulators.”