(Reuters)—Eli Lilly and Co. on Wednesday embraced a U.S. government proposal to end a decades-old system of rebates drugmakers make to industry middlemen, saying it could lower the cost of insulin and other prescription drugs for patients.
Lilly, along with other major insulin makers, Sanofi SA and Novo Nordisk, has been under mounting pressure from patients and politicians over the rising cost of the life-sustaining diabetes treatment.
“While it’s still a proposal, we see this as . . . a win for patients, lowering their out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter with the greatest benefit realized by patients taking more highly-rebated products such as insulin,” Chief Executive David Ricks said on a call with analysts.
Drugmakers argue they have to keep prices high because of the rebates they must pay to pharmacy benefit managers and health insurers to get products on their lists of covered drugs. In January, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump proposed a rule that would end the rebate system or pass along the savings to patients.
“We’ll adapt to whatever rules come out and how they get finalized,” Ricks said.