Cigna to cap insulin cost amid federal drug pricing scrutiny

Alicia Farmer
April 5, 2019

According to the company, the plan will cap out-of-pocket expenses for a 30-day supply of insulin at $25.

In 2018, users of insulin plans by Cigna and Express Cripts were paying an average out-of-pocket cost of $41.50 for a 30-day supply.

On average, Cigna says patients paid almost $42 a month in out-of-pocket expenses for the drug previous year.

The Patient Assurance Program targets members of health plans with nongovernment pharmacy plans managed by Express Scripts.

Bloomfield, Connecticut-based Cigna and its PBM division, Express Scripts, said Wednesday they would reduce out-of-pocket costs for insulin by 40 percent or more for numerous diabetes patients they cover. The discounts could affect up to 700,000 patients, a company spokeswoman said.

"We must find workable solutions to support the development of high-quality drugs and insulin innovations while also ensuring that no one living with diabetes is ever forced to put their life at risk by rationing their insulin because they can not afford it", he said at yesterday's meeting.

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"We are confident that our new program will remove cost as a barrier for people in participating plans who need insulin", said Miller.

About 31% of Americanadults with diabetes reported taking insulin in 2011, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the diabetes association reported that 23.1 million Americans had been diagnosed with diabetes in 2015.

The annual cost of insulin for treating a type 1 diabetes patient in the United States almost doubled to $5,705 in 2016 from $2,864 in 2012, according to a recent study.

And next Wednesday, the top manufacturers of insulin-Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi-are slated to testify before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee about their drug pricing practices.

"Every part of the industry has a role to play in lowering prescription drug prices".

United States lawmakers have pulled up healthcare companies over rising costs of medicine, with powerful committees in Congress holding hearings in January on insulin affordability.

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