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An Eli Lilly insulin manufacturing facility in France. Photo: Frederick Florina/AFP/Getty Images

Eli Lilly’s decision to start selling a new version of its most popular fast-acting insulin highlights the industry’s concerns about possible legislation or regulation to rein in drug prices.

Reality check: Some diabetic patients will benefit from Lilly's new authorized generic, called Lispro. But the PR-heavy move, which has been replicated for other controversially priced medicines, isn't structural change. It aligns with the Trump administration's goal of lowering prices at the pharmacy counter — not necessarily what the system overall pays.

By the numbers: Humalog, which generated $3 billion of revenue for Lilly in 2018, has a list price of $275 per vial. Lispro’s list price will be half that.

Yes, but: A Lilly spokesperson confirmed that Lispro's price will be "comparable" to what Humalog costs after accounting for rebates and discounts.

  • There's no guarantee health insurers or pharmacy benefit managers will cover Lispro, and it's highly unlikely Lilly will offer sizable rebates, if any, for this insulin product.
  • A spokesperson said the company is "not able to comment or speculate on what the rebates will be."

We’ve seen this movie before.

  • Mylan created an authorized generic for its EpiPens in 2016.
  • Gilead created authorized generics for its hepatitis C medications last year.
  • Releasing authorized generics allows companies to compete with themselves, which benefits them more than cutting the price of the brand-name drug.

The bottom line: Lilly's generic insulin will help people with diabetes who don't have insurance, or who face high deductibles and coinsurance rates.

  • But it will not fundamentally change what the country pays for this kind of insulin — or others versions of insulin.
  • Patient advocates who have diabetes pointed out that at $140 per vial, Lispro will still cost 7 times as much as the same insulin in other developed countries.

Go deeper: Axios' special report on drug pricing

Go deeper

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Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 11 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.