A photo of products used to inject insulin.
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Trump Releases Plan to Cap Insulin Prices, Collaborates with Eli Lilly

(CNN) — President Donald Trump announced a plan Tuesday he says will drastically reduce the price of insulin for people on Medicare.

Trump said most senior Medicare recipients will be able to get prescription plans that cap copay costs for insulin, allowing them access to various types of insulins at no more than a copay of $35 for a month’s supply.

Trump unveiled details about the new Medicare benefit during a Rose Garden news conference on Tuesday accompanied by the heads of insulin manufacturers Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, as well as insurance representatives and the American Diabetes Association.

“Today I’m proud to announce that we have reached a breakthrough agreement to dramatically slash the out-of-pocket cost of insulin,” Trump said. “You know what’s happened to insulin over the years, right? Through the roof.”

Eli Lilly and Company CEO David Ricks says they’ve worked hard to lower drug prices, especially insulin.

“This is the kind of collaboration that solves real problems for people with serious issues like diabetes,” says Ricks. 

Ricks says the spirit of collaboration is also being applied to the coronavirus response.

“Thousands of scientists are working in our industry along with the National Institutes of Health and other experts to speed around the clock new therapies for patients suffering from COVID-19 to extinguish this pandemic,” says Ricks. 

Eli Lilly has also been looking at creating new medicine, by studying the antibodies from surviving patients in the United States and turning their antibodies into a medicine.

In his remarks, Trump also thanked Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, for having “brought this to my attention a long time ago.”

Verma said during a call with reporters earlier on Tuesday that “these plans will begin starting in January 2021 in all 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico, and seniors can find a participating plan on our ‘Medicare plan finder’ during the annual open enrollment period, which begins on October 15.”

The new benefit will be offered through Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans.

“That results in approximately a 66% or two-thirds reduction in out-of-pocket costs,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said during the call with reporters.

CMS noted in a press release on Tuesday that more than 1,750 standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage have applied to offer lower insulin costs through the Part D Senior Savings Model for the year 2021.

Verma added during Tuesday’s call that CMS will monitor the results of this approach to lowering insulin costs and, if the model proves successful, will expand it to other high-cost drugs.

“We’re starting with insulin, but depending on the progress of this, we will consider offering this flexibility to manufacturers and plans with other drugs, depending on the results,” Verma said. “We think that this creates a foundation and a platform to fixing some of the problems that we have in the Part D plan. It’s time for that program to be updated.”

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