Novo Nordisk Drops Insulin Price In The US By 70%+

Somehow prices are still higher than many other places in the world

Gideon M-K; Health Nerd
6 min readMar 15


Pictured: Stock photo results for ‘insulin’. Not sure what’s in that pen, but it doesn’t look like a Novo Nordisk product. Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Insulin is one of the most amazing medications ever discovered. Prior to the first commercially-produced insulin products, Type 1 diabetes was quite literally a death sentence, and a quick one. When insulin became commonly available in the 1920s, diabetes almost immediately went from a universally fatal terminal diagnosis to a manageable chronic disease. The original patent for insulin production was famously sold for $1 to make the medication more easily available to anyone who might need it.

But since those heady days in the early 1900s, the cost of insulin in the United States has skyrocketed. The cost of a single vial of insulin has gone up in price so much that there is now a technical term — insulin insecurity — used to describe the life-or-death situation that people with diabetes find themselves in regularly in the US.

Pictured: Shockingly expensive in some places. Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Because of these shockingly high insulin prices, there has been a huge movement to reduce them across the US. Those efforts appear to be bearing fruit — today, Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharmaceutical giant initially set up as one of the first large-scale manufacturers of insulin, has announced that it will be dropping the price of some of its insulin products in the United States. This comes in the wake of another major insulin manufacturer, Eli Lilly, making a similar announcement recently.

The truly staggering fact is that this massive drop in price — reportedly, Novo Nordisk will cut their insulin prices by up to 75% — still leaves Americans with some of the highest insulin prices in the world.

The cost of insulin might be dropping in the US, but even after a 75% reduction it remains disastrously high.

Drug Pricing

The basic issue here is something that seems simple — drug pricing. Pharmaceutical products are inherently very difficult to price, because on the one hand they often cost very little to manufacture, but on the other they often cost a fair bit to develop and bring…