How Lilly Is Helping Discounts Reach People With Diabetes in 340B

Eli Lilly and Company  | September 2, 2020

Helping people get affordable access to the medicine they need has always been a priority at Lilly.

But as the United States navigates the COVID-19 pandemic and historic unemployment rates, it’s now more important than ever.

So Lilly is taking another step to help patients get the discounts intended for them – this time, for people with diabetes in the 340B program.

In its current state, the 340B program no longer serves its intended purpose: helping vulnerable and uninsured patients access prescription medicines at a discounted price.

As part of the 340B program, Lilly – via wholesalers – sells its medicines at significantly reduced prices to 340B-covered entities and contract pharmacies, who then sell the medicines to 340B patients. If the 340B program worked the way it was intended, patients would pay that same discounted price at 340B-covered entities and their contract pharmacies. Instead, the price patients pay is often significantly higher because the 340B supply chain marks up the price of the medicine.

It’s clear that the discounts intended for 340B patients are not reaching them at the pharmacy counter, and we want to help patients benefit directly from this federal program. Under the current 340B program, Lilly sells many of its insulins for a penny per milliliter (mL), but that’s not what patients pay.

Starting September 1, Lilly will only provide 340B “penny priced” insulin to 340B covered entities for their contract pharmacy shipments that agree to:

  • Provide insulin to patients at the 340B discounted price – 10 cents per 10-mL vial.

  • Not add any dispensing or administrative fees

  • Not bill the patient’s insurance company

  • Provide claims data to manufacturers on these insulin purchases

We hope 340B patients with diabetes will see immediate savings when pharmacies pass-through the discounts we provide, bringing down the cost of their monthly insulin prescription to just pennies.

How Lilly Will Help 340B Discounts Reach People With Diabetes

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All qualified 340B facilities and their patients continue to have access to Lilly products under the 340B program, including facilities without an in-house pharmacy.

This decision is one of several steps we’ve taken to improve affordability. Lilly takes a significant loss on every 340B penny-priced insulin sale, but we believe that patients – instead of for-profit intermediaries – should benefit from the discounts we provide under this important federal program.

Earlier this year, Lilly introduced the Lilly Insulin Value Program, allowing anyone with commercial insurance, and the uninsured, to purchase their monthly prescription of most Lilly insulins for $35 or less. To access these savings, patients can call the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center at (833) 808-1234 or apply for the program online at insulinaffordability.com.

Starting in January 2021, Medicare Part D enrollees may also pay less for their monthly insulin prescriptions, as part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Part D Senior Savings Model, which Lilly and other insulin manufacturers have funded.

We’ve also expanded our other patient affordability programs to ensure people can stay on their medicines, even if their insurance lapses. Lilly is committed to the 340B program and the patients it was created to serve, but this program needs oversight reform, among other aspects, to better define who is entitled to discounts, and to determine eligibility.

Our recent decision will ensure that if a pharmacy wants access to discounted insulin from Lilly, they need to sell it at that discounted price to the 340B patients they serve.