During the 2020 US election, unlike other healthcare issues, lowering the cost of insulin is a point of consensus among candidates. The downward pricing pressure is likely to affect the US insulin pens market. According to a GlobalData analysis, the global insulin pens market was valued at $9.6bn in 2019 and grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.1% since 2015. The US accounts for 46% of the global market, driven by its increasing diabetes prevalence, the rising adoption rate of disposable insulin pens, and high selling prices compared with global averages.
The price of insulin skyrocketed in the US when long-acting insulin administered via pre-filled pens was introduced. As they are considered more effective and technologically advanced, the pens quickly replaced traditional vials. Lack of competition is the other key factor of the steep pricing. According to the GlobalData analysis, Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, and Sanofi accounted for over 99% of the insulin pens in the US market in 2019. However, Semglee from Mylan and Biocon Ltd has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June and is now available on the market. The listed price is 65% cheaper than Sanofi’s Lantus. Combined with the pricing pressure from policymakers, a fourth competitor entering the insulin pen landscape in the US will further lower the prices.
The growth of the insulin pens market has slowed since the Covid-19 outbreak due to new patient start delays from physician office closings associated with Covid-19. Additionally, as people lose healthcare coverage due to unemployment in the pandemic, some patients may choose cheaper alternatives such as insulin vials. While the pricing of insulin pens has spiked over the last several years in the US, affordability may hamper the device’s market penetration during the Covid-19 crisis. GlobalData expects the insulin pen market’s growth in 2020 to decrease to 2.3% due to the pandemic. However, as more medical facilities resume their diabetic care services, the insulin pen market is starting to recuperate. Affordability programmes from manufacturers for those who have been prescribed insulin pens can also help increase access to the products.
Insulin pens dominate the global insulin delivery devices market due to their easy usage and patient satisfaction. The positive trend is expected to continue in the forecast period to 2028 due to the growing global prevalence of diabetes. While the market’s growth in the US may be set back, there are still market opportunities due to increasing demand in developing countries such as Brazil and China.