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Several months ago, Eli Lilly (LLY) launched a new version of its Humalog insulin at half of the list price, a move the company claimed would help lower costs for people with diabetes and blunt criticism of its pricing. But a new survey by a pair of lawmakers finds the new version is often out of stock at pharmacies, many of which were unaware the product was available.

The findings prompted renewed criticism of the drug maker for failing to take steps to ensure its strategy would lower costs for consumers. Although prescription drug prices are a hot-button issue across the U.S., the cost of insulin has been a flashpoint amid mounting reports of people driving to Canada to purchase the medicine or others who engage in rationing, sometimes leading to death.


“Our report shows that Eli Lilly has failed to deliver on its promise to put a more-affordable insulin product on the shelves,” said Richard Blumental (D-Conn), who teamed with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to survey 190 chain and 196 independent pharmacies in 50 states between May and September.

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  • @Observer079 – The other project was for AMGEN and those two totaled closer to $4 Billion USD at the time. As I recall the chatter, they represented a 300% overbuild of production capacity. The need to amortize costs like that does explain (in principle, at least) why certain products cost much more than “a few pennies” to produce. We’ll see how the current debate shreds out.

  • One vaguely remembers that Abbotts’ initiative to build the D2E7 plant circa 2003, was called “the little project,” in comparison to the Lilly Caribe Humalog project, along with one other one that escapes me. Why would one remember D2E7? You will better know it as “Humira.”

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