WHAT: Demonstration in front of Eli Lilly and Company international corporate headquarters in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. Signs will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. For more info and updates, join the Facebook event.
WHEN: Saturday, September 9th at 1-3pm; remarks at 2pm
Can't make it to Indianapolis but want to do something? Join our online day of action on September 8th.
WHY: People with diabetes are speaking out against the outrageous prices of a medication that is necessary for survival. We are asking Eli Lilly to be transparent about the costs of manufacturing insulin and the enormous profits it is making on the medicine, and to commit to stopping the immoral act of price-gouging people who depend on this medicine for survival. Our asks to Eli Lilly are as follows:
BACKGROUND: Insulin, an essential medicine, was first used to treat a person with diabetes in 1922 and the discoverers intended it to be accessible for all. Now, almost 100 years later, the cost of insulin is increasingly unaffordable for people living with diabetes in the USA, causing people to ration insulin and skip injections. High prices are leading to bankruptcy and even death.
Eli Lilly and Company is one of three manufacturers of insulin. In near lock-step with the other two manufacturers, Lilly has raised the price of its version of insulin by over 300% over the past seven years. A U.S. patient’s out-of-pocket cost for a month’s supply of Eli Lilly’s Humalog can be over $400.
Although manufacturers like Eli Lilly keep the cost of insulin production a tightly-guarded secret, U.S. prices are likely hundreds of times higher than the expense of making the drug. Patients in the U.S. and internationally have died due to inability to afford insulin, and physicians report seeing an increasing number of insulin-deprived patients coming into emergency rooms in crisis. As many as half of those who need insulin cannot reliably get access to it.
The insulin price increases have been called “price-gouging, plain and simple” by U.S. Senators and a “racket” by an endocrinologist writing in the New York Times. The insulin manufacturers’ mirror-image insulin price increases have triggered a class-action lawsuit alleging collusion insulin manufacturers.
We in the diabetes community have expressed our frustration online, in meetings with these companies, and in numerous blog posts. T1International has also had conversations with some of the “big three” insulin producers about insulin affordability, but unsurprisingly we were met with standard PR responses and blame shifting. Some of our other attempts to talk have been ignored, but the diabetes community as a whole has been talking to Lilly and others about these issues for a long time. Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk know that people are outraged, suffering and dying because insulin costs too much.
Most of us can agree that none of the concerns that have been expressed have been taken seriously enough. Taking patients concerns seriously does not mean somber conversations, hosting forums with advocates or creating limited charity programs. It means actually making insulin affordable and not wringing every last dollar of profit out of desperate people. It means putting people before profits because pharma’s prices are putting people in danger.
It's time that our concerns are taken seriously, and this demonstration is a way of showing that we will keep the pressure on.
We know that Novo Nordisk and Sanofi are just as much a part of the problem as Eli Lilly, and that all of them must be held accountable. The location of our partner organizations in Indiana makes Lilly a good first target, but we are very open to planning something similar outside Novo and Sanofi in the future. If you want to help organize another demonstration, please get in touch!
On September 8th, in solidarity with the protesters, we will also be holding an online day of action about insulin pricing – addressing all three players in the insulin market.
These companies’ business models are dependent on government decisions about regulations and bulk purchases of their products, so the companies absolutely will provide transparency and lower prices if the people and their representatives demand it. This demonstration can amplify our cries and raise public awareness that the price gouging must be reined in. We believe the momentum will continue to build, and we hope you will join us in speaking out.