(Reuters) – Non-profit drugmaker Civica said on Thursday it expects to launch lower-cost versions of insulin in the United States by 2024, to help diabetic patients struggling with high prices for the life-sustaining medicine.
Civica, launched in 2018 to make generic drugs, said it would produce three copycat versions of insulin, and make them available at roughly the same price for all customers, once approved by U.S. health regulators.
The company’s products, which would be available as both vials and pre-filled pens, are biosmilars to Sanofi SA’s Lantus, Eli Lilly and Co’s Humalog and Novo Nordisk’s Novolog.
The maximum price for all three of Civica’s products would be no more than $30 per vial and no more than $55 for a box of five pen cartridges, the company said.
That compares with $300 per vial and $500 for five pens, which are the average wholesale prices, according to Civica.
More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Sanofi, Lilly and Novo Nordisk have long dominated the U.S. diabetes market, but face growing pressure from lawmakers on why the cost of the nearly 100-year-old medication had rapidly risen.
In response, Eli Lilly in 2019 launched its own cut-price versions of Humalog, while Sanofi said it would cut the cost of its insulin products for some U.S. patients. Novo also offers a generic version of Novolog at a 50% discount.
Civica, which was launched by seven health systems including HCA Healthcare and Mayo Clinic to make essential medicines available at affordable prices, is launching clinical studies for its insulins this year and expects to file for regulatory approval in 2023.
It estimates that the first product would be available for purchase by early 2024.
(Reporting by Bhanvi Satija and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)