- GoodRx has announced a collaboration with Sanofi to offer the drugmaker’s Lantus brand of insulin for $35 a month at tens of thousands of U.S. pharmacies, regardless of consumers’ insurance status.
- GoodRx and Sanofi said in a Thursday release that the partnership will leverage GoodRx’s reach to allow more Americans with diabetes to access affordable insulin.
- It’s unclear how much the partnership will meaningfully move the needle on affordability given other recent actions from the French drugmaker and public insurance programs to lower insulin prices. A GoodRx spokesperson said the Sanofi partnership is beneficial because the coupons take effect sooner than other cost-cutting initiatives.
Effective yesterday, patients with diabetes can obtain a 30-day supply of Lantus for $35 at the 70,000 pharmacies that accept GoodRx coupons, including CVS and Walgreens locations.
Drugmakers have been under intense public pressure to lower steep insulin costs that place the life-saving medication out of reach for many Americans. More than a million Americans rationed their insulin last year due to cost, according to one study.
Frustration over high insulin prices reached a fever pitch earlier this year, prompting cost cuts from drugmakers Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk in March. Sanofi also later agreed to lower Lantus’ list price by 78% and limit out-of-pocket costs for the drug to $35 for buyers with commercial insurance. Both of Sanofi’s initiatives take effect in 2024.
External pressures on drugmakers to lower insulin costs extend beyond public opinion.
The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act last year set a $35 monthly limit for out-of-pocket costs in Medicare for seniors’ insulin. President Joe Biden has asked Congress to expand that cap to patients covered by all insurance.
A law passed in 2021 that eliminated a cap on certain rebates paid to Medicaid could ding drugmakers for hiking drug costs faster than inflation. Insulin and other diabetes drugs made up an outsized share of those rebates in the past, according to a KFF analysis, meaning Sanofi could have lost money from Lantus’ high list price starting next year.
Sanofi is also facing competition from biosimilar versions of Lantus. Meanwhile, the profitability of insulin is of less importance to Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, both of which are benefiting from steep growth of other diabetes drugs that have potential for weight loss.
More than 11% of Americans — some 37.3 million people — have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, roughly 10 million people are treated with insulin.
Insulin’s average out-of-pocket cost regardless of a patient’s insurance status is $58 per fill, according to the HHS. For uninsured individuals, that cost reached an average of $123.
Other companies billing themselves as cost disrupters in healthcare have also targeted diabetes. Amazon Pharmacy has partnered with a number of drugmakers to automatically apply coupons for insulin, while Best Buy plans to start selling continuous glucose monitors this fall.
GoodRx has racked up a number of recent partnerships as the California-based digital health company, founded in 2011 as a prescription drug price comparison tool, focuses on entrenching itself more deeply in the healthcare sector.
GoodRx has notched deals with four pharmacy benefit managers — CVS Caremark, Cigna’s Express Scripts, MedImpact and Navitus — to automatically apply its drug discount coupons to drugs for eligible consumers at the pharmacy counter.