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Shaheen, Warnock, Warren Demand Answers from Novo Nordisk for Discontinuing Insulin Before Lowering the Price

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are sending a letter to the leadership of Novo Nordisk demanding answers for why the company discontinued the production of Levemir, one of the three long-acting insulins on the market, and what the company plans to do to continue to ensure patients have access to affordable medication. The move to discontinue Levemir came after Novo Nordisk announced it was cutting the price of the medication and shortly before the price reduction was about to go into effect, raising questions and concerns for the health of those depending on Levemir and the stability of the insulin supply chain and market.

In part, the Senators wrote: “More than 7 million patients in the United States – including all patients living with Type 1 and many with Type 2 diabetes, as well as gestational diabetes – rely on a steady supply of insulin to survive. Long-acting insulins are the most prescribed and commonly used insulin, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all insulin treatment visits.”

They continued: “On March 14, 2023, Novo Nordisk announced that the U.S. list prices of several insulin products, including Levemir, would be lowered starting on January 1, 2024. On November 8, 2023, before its 65 percent price cut had taken effect, Novo Nordisk announced that Levemir would be discontinued, with supply disruptions beginning in mid-January 2024 and formal discontinuation of the Levemir FlexPen vial on December 31, 2024.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.

As co-chair of the U.S. Senate Diabetes Caucus, Shaheen works to increase awareness of the threats posed by diabetes, invest in research and improve access to treatment options. Last year, Shaheen and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Improving Safeguards for Users of Lifesaving Insulin Now (INSULIN) Act of 2023, which would comprehensively address the skyrocketing costs of insulin and remove barriers to care making it more accessible to millions of Americans.