Sanofi’s Lantus, its most commonly prescribed insulin, will sell for $35 a month through GoodRx Holdings Inc. in a deal that signals the drug-discount site’s growing business with large pharma companies.
(Bloomberg) — Sanofi’s Lantus, its most commonly prescribed insulin, will sell for $35 a month through GoodRx Holdings Inc. in a deal that signals the drug-discount site’s growing business with large pharma companies.
Under the agreement, GoodRx will sell Lantus supplies at the same price to both insured and uninsured patients, the companies said Thursday. While Sanofi said in March that it would lower list prices for Lantus and cap out-of-pocket costs for people with insurance at $35 a month starting next year, the GoodRx price goes into effect immediately for all customers.
After years of criticism over cost and more recent prodding from President Joe Biden, manufacturers earlier this year pledged to cut prices for insulin, relied on by millions of people with diabetes. Known for allowing consumers to compare prices on low-cost generic medications across pharmacies, GoodRx aims to get more discounts directly from branded drugmakers, and the Lantus deal is a step forward for that strategy.
“People are looking for affordability,” said Scott Wagner, interim chief executive officer of GoodRx. “That is becoming a much larger issue for marketers at the pharma companies.”
Public outcry over the high cost of prescription medications, particularly for seniors, has spurred efforts to make drugs more affordable. Billionaire Mark Cuban launched Cost Plus Drugs to sell generic medications at simple markups on the cost of ingredients, while hospital-backed nonprofit Civica Rx is working to manufacture generic drugs that are at risk of shortage.
Insulin manufacturers have faced public fury over the cost of their life-saving medicines. Biden’s signature Inflation Reduction Act capped the out-of-pocket cost of insulin for people on Medicare at $35 a month, and lawmakers have contemplated similar restrictions for private health plans.
In Sanofi’s deal with GoodRx, patients with a prescription can obtain a coupon to get Lantus for $35 at more than 70,000 participating US pharmacies. GoodRx collects a fee on each transaction, as it does with other discounts it offers, Wagner said.
The company already has deals with many branded pharmaceutical manufacturers to offer patients with commercial insurance access coupons or copay cards that lower costs at the pharmacy counter.
The Lantus deal goes a step further, making the discounted price widely available regardless of insurance, according to GoodRx. The company has struck similar agreements with more than a dozen other branded drugmakers this year, and it expects to sign more.
GoodRx’s sales have slowed in recent years, and about three years ago the firm launched a division that works directly with branded drugmakers. Now it accounts for about $100 million in annual revenue, or about 12% of the company’s top line last year.
“It’s one of the big growth levers for us,” Wagner said.
The site handles 100 million searches for drugs each year, and more than 20% of them are for brand-name drugs, Wagner said.
Given the large and growing market for insulin, the Lantus deal marks a milestone for the company’s strategy. About 8.4 million people in the US use insulin to treat diabetes.
Manufacturers may benefit from working with GoodRx if its lower costs lead more patients to fill their prescriptions, said Dorothy Gemmell, the company’s chief commercial officer.
“We are a very effective vehicle to help convert that prescription into a filled prescription,” she said.
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