After a public pressure campaign that has now spanned years, drug maker Eli Lilly announced that they would be capping the price of insulin at just $35 per month – a major win for consumers, even if it is just a PR stunt by the company. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Can you believe it? After a public pressure campaign that’s now spanned years, Eli Lilly has announced that they’re gonna cap the price of insulin to just $35 a month. A major win for consumers. Not hardly. This is the worst PR scam I’ve ever seen. Let me begin with saying this. It costs $7 a vial, $7 a vial to create this insulin. Right? Now, they were trying to sell it for, the numbers are staggering, 200, almost $250 per vial. Pick it up from there.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. This is 100% a PR stunt. It is not even really a win for consumers because technically they didn’t change their policy. It was always $35 per month. The way they figure this out is they do these incentives and the rebates when you go through insurance. So even though you see the sticker shock of, you know, $200 for the regular Eli Lilly insulin, you were not paying that. What you’re paying for, of course, are the more expensive additives, because sometimes the insurance won’t cover the original one. So this is all a big smoke and mirrors type thing. Eli Lilly always had this policy. They’re just trying to get the public, they’re trying to get Bernie Sanders off their back, is what this is.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. Let’s talk about, let’s talk about insulin just a little bit. This is a product that has been around for almost a century. Okay. The people who developed the product gave it to a university in Toronto and said, just use it. It’s not ours. It’s free. You take it, you help people with it. The truth is, then you had Eli Lilly, Sanofi, Nordisk, all of these awful people that run the pharmaceutical money making process says, hey, well, we’re gonna buy it and we’re gonna, we’re gonna make it so expensive that at some point people are having to cut down on the amount of use. They’re actually cutting their use in half just so they can make it. Bernie Sanders comes out, he says, uh-uh, you got some splaining to do. Soon as they do that, they come in here with their lies. Their lies are this, oh, we, this is expensive because of R and D. We’ve had research and development. There’s been zero research and development. It’s been around for a century. There’s no, there’s been no, there’s been no scientific advancements at all. It’s the same product that that character gave away almost a century ago. And now all they’re doing is raping American consumers who are sick with diabetes and we’re not doing a thing about it.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And this is kinda like the Moderna story we talked about a couple weeks ago. Bernie Sanders threatens the CEO to explain why you’re jacking up the price of the COVID vaccine. Then finally Moderna’s like, okay, we’re not gonna do it. Bernie Sanders puts all this pressure. I mean, back in his 2020 campaign, he traveled across the border to Canada with a group of diabetics to witness them firsthand having to buy insulin in bulk in Canada because they couldn’t afford it here in the US. So he has been at the forefront of this for many, many years. He put the pressure on them. And he’s smart enough to know this is smoke and mirrors. So I don’t think he’s done either.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. They’ve been sued and here’s what the suit says, that they’re saying, Mr. and Ms. Lilly, you met with the other manufacturers. You talked about and discussed what they were charging. You came up with a price fixing scheme. You sold that price fixing scheme to government. You did it in a way that you increased the cost of your product from $25 to $275 over this period of, this period of time. It’s price fixing, it’s antitrust. They’re gonna get sued. And you know what? I’m gonna have the opportunity to take the depositions. Interesting. Just happens to be, I will be taking those depositions and I promise they will be a blood bath because there’s no defense to what these folks are doing. And the very fact that they’re making this look like, like some, like they really care about us. That they’re trying to really give us a break is nonsense.

Farron Cousins: Right. And as you pointed out, it only costs $7 to make a vial of insulin. They would turn a huge profit if they turned around and sold it for $9, is what the reports tell us.

Mike Papantonio: Right. Well, that was how it started out.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Started out, well, we’re gonna charge a reasonable amount because people will die, you know, they’ll die without their insulin. And people are having to use half amounts, just cut their amount in half, which is extremely dangerous.

Farron Cousins: I mean, we’re talking about what, 7 million people in this country that are on insulin daily?

Mike Papantonio: Yes, yes.

Farron Cousins:: If they only paid a $2 markup on these vials, you’re talking about $14 million for every vial these people made make.

Mike Papantonio: Pigs.

Farron Cousins: It is, yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Pigs at the trough. That’s what’s working here.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.