The drugmaker is also capping out-of-pocket costs for its insulins to $35 a month for many people.
Drugmaker Eli Lilly is reducing the price of its most commonly prescribed insulins by 70% and capping monthly out-of-pocket costs to $35 at participating pharmacies for people with private insurance. As prices for the drug have spiked in recent years, the changes could help the millions of Americans who use insulin daily to treat diabetes.
"While the current health care system provides access to insulin for most people with diabetes, it still does not provide affordable insulin for everyone and that needs to change," said Lilly CEO David Ricks in a release on Wednesday, adding that its price reduction should "should make a real difference for Americans with diabetes."
More than 37 million Americans have diabetes, and many are prescribed insulin -- a hormone produced in the pancreas -- because their bodies do not produce it or don't use it properly. The prices of some popular types of insulin, which are generally taken daily, have tripled over the past decade, according to the American Diabetes Association. The high cost of insulin has prompted some Americans to ration the lifesaving drug.
Among the changes announced Wednesday, Lilly said it would reduce the price of its insulins Humalog and Humulin by 70% in the last three months of this year. The company is also cutting the price of its generic version of Humalog to $25 a vial, down from around $82, starting May 1.
In addition, Lilly is expanding its program that caps out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 a month at participating retail pharmacies. The program previously only covered people without insurance, but starting Wednesday will automatically be applied to people with commercial insurance, said Lilly.
Eli Lilly is one of just three major insulin producers, along with Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Together, the three companies are estimated to control over 90% of the global insulin market.
The American Diabetes Association praised Eli Lilly's move and encouraged other insulin makers to do the same.
"We applaud Eli Lilly for taking the important step to limit cost-sharing for its insulin, and we encourage other insulin manufacturers to do the same," said ADA CEO Charles Henderson in a statement Wednesday. "We will work to ensure that Eli Lilly's patient assistance program is benefiting patients as intended and continue the fight so that everyone who needs insulin has access."
Last month President Joe Biden called on Congress to cap the price of insulin for all people with diabetes. The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in August, cut insulin prices to $35 for Medicare recipients at the start of this year.