Citing Inflation, Drug Makers Raise Prices on Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Others
Many diabetes drug makers have made a big deal about their insulin price cuts, but what hasn’t been mentioned is that they just raised prices on popular GLP-1 medications. Here’s what to know and how to access savings if you currently use these drugs.
The last few years were supposed to be a big year for access to diabetes drugs – or so it seemed. Starting Jan. 1, 2024, dramatic price cuts of up to 75% went into effect for several of the most common insulins made by Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi.
While that’s good news, there’s more to the story than falling insulin prices. A new analysis by the nonprofit 46brooklyn Research, reported by the Wall Street Journal, found that drug makers have increased the prices of 775 medications so far this year.
The price increases include popular incretin drugs for diabetes and weight loss – including Ozempic and Mounjaro – which could complicate access for the millions of Americans who use these medications.
What did the analysis find?
The key findings include the following:
Drugmakers rose prices by a median of 4.5%, though some drug prices rose by 10% or more.
The price of Ozempic rose 3.5% to nearly $970 per month.
The price of Mounjaro rose 4.5% to nearly $1,070 per month.
While drug makers have blamed market trends and inflation for the price increases, the median rate of inflation was 3.4% in December, which is below the median drug price increase.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Novo Nordisk said its U.S. price increases haven’t exceeded single-digit percentages since 2016.
What should people currently using these drugs expect?
It’s common to see raised prices from drug companies in the first weeks of the new year, the Wall Street Journal reported. More price increases could also come throughout the year, posing further affordability challenges for people with diabetes.
Could any drugs see price reductions?
While several incretin therapies produced by Novo Nordisk and Lilly have seen price increases, some diabetes medications are being considered for price negotiation by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.
These medications include:
SGLT-2 inhibitors Jardiance and Farxiga
DPP-4 inhibitor Januvia
Several rapid-acting insulins: Fiasp, FlexTouch, Fiasp PenFill, NovoLog, FlexPen, NovoLog, and PenFill
The negotiated prices won’t go into effect until 2026. More drugs will be eligible for negotiation in future years.
How to save on diabetes drugs
Taking medication consistently is one of the most important parts of diabetes care.
Price increases can affect patients’ ability to access medications and even lead people to ration diabetes supplies. Indeed, a 2021 study found that nearly 17% of insulin users skipped insulin doses, took less insulin than they needed, or delayed buying insulin, all due to cost.
Luckily, there are resources to help patients access drugs. See diaTribe’s comprehensive guide to affording insulin here.
Drug makers can also help pay for medications through patient assistance programs (PAPs) and savings cards for eligible people with commercial insurance.
Novo Nordisk: People who need help paying for their medicines can access PAPs at www.novocare.com. Several savings card options are available that can limit the monthly cost of insulin to $99. With Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic savings card, you could pay as little as $25 per month for a 1, 2, or 3-month supply for up to two years.
Sanofi: Commercially insured people are eligible for co-pay assistance programs for Apidra, Lantus, Soliqua 100/33, and Toujeo. Uninsured people are eligible for the Insulins Valyou Savings Program, which limits the monthly cost of insulin to $35. You may be able to access medications for free through the Sanofi Patient Connection program as well.
Lilly: Through the LillyCares program, you may be eligible to receive a monthly supply of insulin for $35. Anyone who is paying more than $35 per monthly prescription of Lilly insulin can call the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center at (833) 808-1234 or visit insulinaffordability.com for more information. Lilly’s Mounjaro savings card allows eligible commercially insured users to pay as little as $25 for a 1 or 3-month supply.
Learn more about access to diabetes medications: