Monday, May 20

Boca Raton diabetes patient impacted by Eli Lilly insulin shortage

Earlier this week, drug manufacturer Eli Lilly warned the public that two of their insulin products will be out of stock through the beginning of April.

“I have type 1 diabetes. I have an insulin pump. I take like 60 units a day of insulin,” Jon Konrad, who lives in Boca Raton, told WPTV.

The insulin Konrad uses that connects to his pump is Humalog, made Eli Lilly.

“I was running low, so low and behold, I have to call my pharmacy and get a prescription and they were like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a delay,'” Konrad said.

Konrad told WPTV the pharmacy was able to find him one more vial at another store, but then Konrad stumbled upon this warning on Eli Lilly’s website:

Lilly understands how vital insulin is to patients who rely on it, and we take our responsibility to supply these medicines seriously. For most of our insulin products, including Humalog (insulin lispro injection) 100 units/mL and Insulin Lispro Injection 100 units/mL, we have more than one presentation option, such as vials and prefilled pens. This provides greater opportunity for patients across the globe to access our medicines and, in some cases, more quickly than if we had only one delivery option.The 10 mL vials of Humalog and Insulin Lispro Injection are or will be temporarily out of stock at wholesalers and some pharmacies through the beginning of April. We are continuing to manufacture 10 mL vials of these products and will ship them as soon as we can. In the meantime, all other Lilly insulin products including Humalog and Insulin Lispro Injection in prefilled pens (KwikPen) are currently available in the U.S. We are in ongoing contact with the FDA.We recognize that any supply challenge may cause a disruption in people’s treatment regimens, and we are moving with urgency to address it. Anyone experiencing difficulty in getting their prescription filled should contact their healthcare provider to discuss switching to the same insulin in a prefilled pen or other insulin treatment options. Additionally, patients may check other pharmacies in their insurance network for available supply. Patients who need insulin immediately and cannot access their healthcare provider for an alternative treatment option should seek emergency care.For people with commercial insurance or who are uninsured, we have capped copays at $35* regardless of which Lilly insulin or insulin presentation patients use. Patients who receive a new prescription for a non-Lilly insulin should check with the manufacturer about any potential discount programs they offer.

“So alright, what are patients to do? There’s a lot of patients that use pumps to survive and the alternatives are, you can use a competitor. You can go to the emergency room. That’s not options that are feasible for a lot of patients,” Konrad said. “Because it’s not covered. It’s not reimbursable by insurance.”

Doctors WPTV spoke with said Eli Lilly has not told the medical community the reason for the shortage.

“So the vials are not being produced in the same quantities as they were before,” Dr. Imran Ali, assistant clinical professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, said. “But the fact is, you should still be able to get the insulin in the pre-filled formulations. Those pens, what we call the quick set pens.”

That’s what Konrad said he’ll probably do, but it could cost him hundreds of dollars out of pocket.

“I’m nervous. There’s no answer. There’s no why, when is this going to end,” he said. “So for me, it’s disturbing.”

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