Novo Nordisk is ending insulin product sales in the U.S. Three senators are not happy.

ConsumerAffairs

The company cut the price of Levemir in January but will now stop selling it

Under Congressional pressure, the price of insulin has come down in recent months, which is good news for diabetics and others who depend on it. 

In 2023, Novo Nordisk announced that it would reduce insulin prices and slashed the price of one insulin product, Levemir, by 65%. But just weeks later, the company said it would stop selling Levemire in the U.S. at the end of 2024.

That has provoked a response from Capital Hill. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have sent a letter to top executives at Novo Nordisk asking for an explanation. 

“More than 7 million patients in the United States – including all patients living with Type 1 and many with Type 2 diabetes, as well as gestational diabetes – rely on a steady supply of insulin to survive,” the lawmakers wrote. Long-acting insulins are the most prescribed and commonly used insulin, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all insulin treatment visits.

“We have vigorously advocated for universal access to affordable insulin products. Unfortunately, that goal remains out of reach for too many Americans, in particular for in-demand, long-acting insulins with proven outcomes. Spending on insulin has tripled in the last ten years, and 17 % of patients report rationing their insulin due to cost."

‘Alarmed’

The senators said they are “alarmed” that sales of Levemir are being eliminated almost before the price reductions go into effect.They noted that of the long-acting insulins, Levemir has the shortest duration and is the only insulin FDA-approved for pregnancy.

Novo Nordisk has explained that it decided to end U.S. sales of the insulin product because of manufacturing constraints and issues with formularies, which are lists of products that insurance plans will pay for. It also cited the availability of other insulin drugs.

The lawmakers’ letter asked the company for details of issues related to formulary placement for Levemir, as well as any steps Congress can take to alleviate such issues in the future. It also asked for details about the ongoing supply chain constraints that led to the discontinuation of Levemir sales in the U.S.

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