Sanofi cuts price of Lantus insulin in US by 78%
Sanofi has followed in the footsteps of its rivals in the US insulin market with a 78% price cut for its most widely-used Lantus product starting next January.
It will restrict out-of-pocket costs for the product at $35 per month for all patients receiving the drug through commercial insurance, also starting in 2024, bringing basal insulin product Lantus (insulin glargine) into line with the cap mandated on insulin for seniors funded by Medicare in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Sanofi will also slash the list price of its short-acting product Apidra (insulin glulisine) by 70% from the start of next year. It hasn’t yet indicated what impact the reductions will have on its future financial performance.
The announcement comes shortly after Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk also announced price reductions for some of their insulin products, responding to increasing pressure from lawmakers to reduce the burden of funding the drug for health systems.
Lantus sales have already started to weaken due to biosimilar competition, falling more than a quarter in the fourth quarter of 2022 to around $455 million, but still brought in almost $2.4 billion from the French group overall last year.
Apidra doesn’t warrant its own line in Sanofi’s financial reports, and the reductions don’t include Sanofi's Toujeo, a more concentrated version of insulin glargine that offers less frequent dosing, in the price cuts. It is also a blockbuster, with sales of around $1.2 billion last year.
Sanofi has previously taken other measures to make it easier for diabetes patients and payers to access insulin products, including the launch of an unbranded insulin glargine last year at a 60% discount to Lantus and the introduction of a $35 co-pay cap for people without insurance.
The head of Sanofi’s general medicines business in the US, Olivier Bogillot, acknowledged however that health systems were unable to take advantage of the cut-price product due to “inherent structural challenges.”
“Our decision to cut the list price of our lead insulin needs to be coupled with broader change to the overall system to actually drive savings for patients at the pharmacy counter,” he said. “Sanofi believes that no one should struggle to pay for their insulin and we are proud of our continued actions to improve access and affordability for millions of patients for many years.”
Lilly said it plans to reduce list prices for its most commonly prescribed insulin products by 70%, starting in the fourth quarter of 2023, while Novo Nordisk pledged reductions of up to 75% from the start of next year for some of its product portfolio.