Lilly Diabetes Aims to Improve Affordability and Access through Patient Assistance Programs

November 17, 2020
Chris Spencer
Wayne State University '22
Chris Spencer is a third-year biomedical engineering student at Wayne State University in Detroit, concentrating in biomaterials and tissue engineering. He is also a member of WSU’s Men’s Swim Team. As a T1D patient since June 2019 and an alumnus of The Diabetes Link's NextGen Leaders Program, Chris hopes to apply his experiences to meaningful research ventures and industrial innovations that address the pathophysiology of diabetes.

In a nation where healthcare and drug costs have ballooned, little progress towards long-term political solutions have been made. Therefore, companies like Eli Lilly and Company are introducing financial assistance programs that aim to preserve and protect patient communities in the interim. With the pandemic further exposing the correlation between access to life-sustaining drugs, quality of life, and long-term health outcomes, a fortified Lilly Diabetes Solution Center is ready to assist vulnerable patients who may struggle to afford their insulin, glucagon, and other diabetes drugs.

What is a patient assistance program? In short, patient assistance programs can take numerous forms, including access to copay cards, pharmacy discounts, and charitable donations. Whatever the form, someone other than the patient or their insurance provider (if they have one) is covering a large portion of the drug costs.

“Whatever the form, someone other than the patient or their insurance provider (if they have one) is covering a large portion of the drug costs.”

Lilly Diabetes offers several types of patient assistance programs, highlighted by the Lilly Insulin Value Program. This program grants patients already taking Lilly insulin access to copay cards that can reduce the cost of an insulin prescription to $35 for a prescription (not including tax and pharmacy fees). That’s right: for every insulin prescription procured through the Lilly Insulin Value Program, the patient will pay, $35.

But what’s the catch? Eligibility requirements for Lilly’s patient assistance programs are as minimal as is legally permissible. In addition, their highest-selling diabetes drugs – including Humalog®, Humulin®, and BAQSIMI® (glucagon nasal powder) – are included in the list of eligible drugs. Wade Neucks, Brand Director at Eli Lilly and Company, encourages anyone taking these medicines to call the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center at 833-808-1234 if they have even the slightest concern about prescription costs. “If you haven’t tried to get help from the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center,” Neucks says, “chances are you’re missing out on something.” Even if a patient is ineligible for the Lilly Insulin Value Program, other affordable solutions may be available (e.g. accessing non-branded insulins, automatic discounts through retail pharmacies, and donated insulin).

Lilly also understands that one’s ability to pay for insulin can change at any given time. Patients may lose insurance and have to change payment methods. They may break their insulin vials, or mistakenly freeze or overheat them, before their insurance company will cover another prescription. It happens to the best of us! Neucks assures that any adverse scenario is a cause to receive some form of help from the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center; all you have to do is call.

How is the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center helping young adults like us? Lilly understands that the transitional stage of young adulthood poses significant financial risk for diabetes patients. “There are a couple of…high-risk populations in the young adult community, and those are 19-year-olds that are rolling off of Medicaid and need to be self-insured…and 26-year-olds who are rolling off of their parents’ insurance,” Neucks explained. “One of the things that we’ve tried to hold true at [the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center] is that this is really, really complicated stuff for anyone to understand.”

“Lilly understands that the transitional stage of young adulthood poses significant financial risk for diabetes patients.”

Knowing that assuring sustainable insulin access can be daunting, Lilly has staffed its Solution Center with live representatives who are experts on patient assistance programs. Neucks hopes that the representatives’ friendliness and expertise will increase patients’ confidence in their financial decision-making and foster a sense of a warm welcome and genuine support when seeking help.

How does Lilly get the word out about this program to underserved communities? To reach those who may not know about the insulin affordability options available to them, Lilly has launched a geographically-targeted “Learn. Act. Share.” program to advocate their affordability plans to at-risk populations while encouraging word-of-mouth sharing between community members. Additionally, Lilly actively partners with over 200 relief agencies nationwide to donate insulin to those clinics’ patients. For a college student like me, knowing that Lilly is committed to helping at-risk populations afford their medications gives me peace of mind.

Editor’s Note: You must be currently taking a Lilly medication to be eligible for any form of patient assistance through the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center. If you wish to transition from a non-Lilly insulin to a Lilly-branded insulin, you must consult your healthcare provider and receive a prescription. To learn more about Lilly’s patient assistance programs and educate those who may benefit, visit

Lilly is a Corporate Member of The Diabetes Link. You can learn more about our Corporate Member program here.

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