INDIANAPOLIS — Eli Lilly and Company announced it will cut insulin prices by 70% to make the product more affordable not only for consumers without health insurance but also enrollees in private health plans.

”We’re also today announcing that we’re capping patient out-of-pocket costs for insulin and we will automatically provide an out-of-pocket cap of $35 at the majority of the retail pharmacies in the United States for people with commercial insurance who use Lilly insulin,” said Lilly CEO & Chairman David Ricks.

Ricks said that $35 monthly cap would also apply to patients without health insurance who have enrolled in the Lilly Insulin Value Program on-line and received a savings card.

“If you ask any insulin user if they need better insulins to manage their conditions, I’m sure they’ll say, ‘Yes.’”

Martha Bonds of the Diabetes Impact Program Indianapolis Neighborhoods said as an insulin user who is partially dependent on government health care assistance and must meet a deductible, the Lilly announcement is, “a game changer.”

“That’s wonderful,” she said. “I’m a diabetic myself and I do have insurance, but unless I meet that donut hole in Medicare, I’m still paying an arm and a leg until I get past that donut hole. So, $35 now. I can afford it.”

Ricks said he was also challenging, “policymakers, employers and others,” to make insulin more affordable.

”We provide significant discounts to insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers but often, due to plan design, those discounts don’t reach patients directly,” he said. ”To my friends and colleagues who are running large companies or big employers, we urge you to share manufacturer rebates directly with your beneficiaries and employees at the point of sale and exempt inulin and other lifesaving and life sustaining drugs from insurance deductibles.”

Bonds said if employers and insurance companies took up Ricks’ challenge, patients around the world would benefit.

”I know our community will be very grateful and this will save millions of lives,” she said. ”It would be wonderful, and for him to say what he said about the pharmacies and different things keeping that money, its like, you just pulled the cover off the situation, and so now that we know that that’s what they been doing, hopefully we can shame them into not keeping the money for themselves and passing it on to the consumer, passing it on to the employees, and that’s what needs to be done.”