Hospital-backed Civica on Thursday said it plans to produce insulin that will be available at lower prices, making it more accessible to people with diabetes.
Through partnering with other entities working in the diabetes space, the not-for-profit generic drugmaker will sell three versions of insulin at one price, based on the cost of development, production and distribution.
"Diabetes is arguably America's most expensive chronic condition, and it is heartbreaking that millions of people are rationing their care and putting their lives at risk because they can no longer afford insulin," said Dan Liljenquist, board chair of Civica, in a news release. "Through mission-driven partnerships, we are choosing to create a new market reality where no one is forced to ration essential diabetes medications."
Recently, Civica made a co-development and commercial agreement with GeneSys Biologics to create three insulin biosimilars—glargine, lispro and aspart, which are interchangeable with Lantus, Humalog and Novolog respectively.
Following the clinical trials and applications necessary for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, Civica said it will have exclusive rights to market the generics and hopes the first version will be on the market in early 2024. It will aim to set a recommended price to the consumer of no more than $30 per vial and $55 for a box of five pre-filled pen cartridges, in an attempt to reduce out-of-pocket costs for insulin.
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Typically, a vial of analog insulin can range in price from $174 to $300, according to a 2018 study in the American Diabetes Association journal, Diabetes Care. A 2022 GoodRx report found that a carton of five insulin pens typically exceeds $300.
During his 2022 State of the Union address, President Joe Biden called for monthly insulin costs to be capped at $35. Biden's proposed Build Back Better Act would cap insulin costs for Medicare patients.
Up to 25% of insulin users report skipping doses or taking less than their prescribed amounts due to high costs, according to a 2019 study by JAMA Internal Medicine.
Civica—along with CivicaScript and The Civica Foundation—will collaborate on the insulin initiative with Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 12 independent BCBS companies, Intermountain Healthcare, diabetes research not-for-profit JDRF, Kaiser Permanente, Peterson Center on Healthcare, Providence, Transcarent and Trinity Health.
Once construction is finished, Civica's insulins will be produced at its 140,000 square-foot manufacturing plant in Petersburg, Virginia.