By Lynn Kennedy, Abigail Dove, and Helen Gao
Lilly announces new program, in partnership with Express Scripts, to provide insulin directly to people with diabetes and high out of pocket drug expenses.
On January 1, Lilly launched a first-of-its-kind program, in partnership with Express Scripts, that offers significant discounts on brand name Lilly insulin to people in the USA with diabetes and high out-of-pocket costs.
The program, which shows discounts of up to 51% for some Lilly insulins on Blink Health, will be most impactful for those with high deductible health plans or no insurance [Editor’s Note: the original announcement stated that it would be up to a 40% discount on Lilly insulins]. Hopefully, it will also be the first of many efforts to make insulin more affordable; another insulin maker, Novo Nordisk, has already expressed its support for Lilly’s move to spearhead this insulin discount program.
Blink Health was originally developed as a tool to help people purchase generic medications at a discount. Lilly’s new program, in partnership with Express Scripts, marks the first time that brand name medications are being sold discounted and direct to consumers on the platform.
Anyone with a prescription for Lilly insulin products can receive the discounts through Blink Health. Pens and vials of both analog and human insulins are eligible, including Humalog (insulin lispro U100), Humulin U100, Humalog U200, and Basaglar (biosimilar insulin glargine). It is exciting to see efforts to provide insulin discounts launch, given the public outcry over rising prices and how important it is for the safety and quality of life for people with diabetes to be able to dose correctly.
The discounts available through Blink Health exist separate from existing insurance plans. So anybody can “buy direct” through Blink Health – even if they have insurance – but it will be up to each insurance company to decide whether Blink Health purchases will count towards an individual’s deductible. If Lilly insulin discounts do not count towards deductibles, then people will have two options to compare: either to use Blink and pay cash for insulin (without submitting to insurance) or to obtain insulin with their insurance and without Blink.
To use the discount program:
Go to the Blink Health site (available for desktop and mobile).
Search for and order a prescribed Lilly insulin product.
Pay the discounted price online or in the app (Blink Health shows just how much is being saved!).
A Blink Card, your proof of purchase, will be texted to you. You can also print it out.
Bring the Blink Card to your local pharmacy and pick up your prescription – no need to pay anything in store.
[Note: You still need a prescription from your healthcare provider.]
So far, there has been no mention of coverage for Lilly’s other diabetes medications, Trulicity, Jardiance, or Tradjenta, or for Humulin U500 – a more highly concentrated formulation of insulin particularly important for people with high insulin requirements.
Have you purchased discounted Lilly insulin using Blink Health? If so, let us know how your experience was!
If you have any prescriptions for generic medications, whether related to diabetes or not, you may also be able to find those for a discount using Blink Health.
[On a related note, Walmart offers the older NPH (N) and regular (R) human insulins under the Reli-On brand name, which is actually made by Novo Nordisk. These are sold at $25 per vial and can be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription].
Lilly management met with many patient advocates over the last few months, including members of The diaTribe Foundation, to learn about insulin cost concerns and how to help reduce them. The Blink Health discount program is a direct outcome from these conversations. It is positive to see a pharmaceutical company taking the feedback of people with diabetes into consideration.
diaTribe thanks everyone involved in these conversations – Lilly’s program is a great start, and there is much opportunity ahead to work on making it so that everyone can have better access to the diabetes medications they need at a price they can afford.
Photo Credit: Lynn Kennedy, Abigail Dove, and Helen Gao (diaTribe) and Blink Health