Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced today they're teaming up to provide an affordable insulin option for people with diabetes.
Beginning in mid-September, Lilly's Humulin® brand of insulin will be available in Walmart pharmacies across the U.S. under the dual-branded name Humulin® ReliOn®, including 10 mL vials of Humulin® R U-100, Humulin® N, and Humulin® 70/30 formulations.
Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes, up from 21 million in 2005, according to the American Diabetes Association. Of those, about a quarter (27 percent) use insulin to manage blood sugar levels.
"With diabetes reaching epidemic proportions in America, it's more important than ever for participants in the healthcare system to work together to provide solutions to help people successfully manage this condition," said Keith Johns, Lilly's senior director for insulins in the U.S. "At Lilly, we strive to provide innovative, cost-effective therapies that help patients manage their diabetes. And as the nation's largest retailer, Walmart touches more consumers than any other retail organization in the country. This collaboration offers a unique opportunity to provide a low-cost therapy to large numbers of people affected by diabetes."
Walmart has been a leader in providing quality, low-cost healthcare products to patients, pioneering and expanding access to affordable medications.
Along with Humulin® ReliOn® insulin, Walmart also offers $9 diabetes management products, including the ReliOn Ultima Blood Glucose Meter, the ReliOn Ultima Blood Glucose Test Strips (20 ct) and the ReliOn A1c test (glycated hemoglobin).
"Our ReliOn diabetes management products offer customers access to quality, affordable products that allow our customers to save money and live better, healthier lives," said Sandy Kinsey, Walmart's Vice President, Pharmacy Merchandising, Health and Wellness. "With this new offering of Humulin ReliOn insulin, Walmart underscores our commitment to helping people affected by diabetes manage their healthcare needs."
Humulin is the world's first synthetic human insulin. Its introduction by Lilly in 1982 revolutionized the treatment of diabetes by providing a biosynthetic version of human insulin, a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar but is diminished or absent in people with diabetes.