Attorney General Ellison secures low-cost insulin for Minnesotans

In resolution of 2018 lawsuit, insulin manufacturer Eli Lilly agrees to cap out-of-pocket cost of its insulin products at $35 per monthly prescription, and provide free insulin to clinics serving the neediest Minnesotans, for five years

Settlement resolves Attorney General’s 2018 lawsuit against Eli Lilly, while litigation against two other insulin manufacturers continues

February 7, 2024 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today he has reached a settlement with insulin manufacturer Eli Lilly that guarantees that starting today, all Minnesotans, with or without insurance, can buy Eli Lilly’s insulin products for $35 per month for the next five years.

As part of the settlement, Eli Lilly will also donate enough free insulin, a life-saving drug used to treat diabetes, to satisfy the needs of 15 clinics serving the neediest Minnesotans for the same period of five years.

Minnesotans should visit to learn how to get Eli Lilly insulin products for just $35 per month. will be updated to include the 15 clinics providing free insulin as soon as that information is available.

In 2018, the Attorney General sued Eli Lilly and two other insulin manufacturers, alleging they deceptively priced their insulin products, requiring uninsured and underinsured Minnesotans to pay astronomically high out-of-pocket costs based on the list price of the drugs. This settlement resolves the litigation against Eli Lilly. The Attorney General’s litigation against the other two defendants, Sanofi–Aventis and Novo Nordisk, continues.

“No one should ever have to choose between affording their lives and affording to live — but the skyrocketing, unconscionably high cost of insulin has forced too many people into that terrible choice, sometimes with tragic results,” Attorney General Ellison said. “This landmark settlement ensures that insulin will be affordable and accessible to every Minnesotan who needs it.

“Due to the hard work of attorneys, investigators, and staff from the Attorney General’s Office, Minnesota has been at the forefront of holding insulin manufacturers accountable in this litigation for more than five years. I’m grateful to Governor Walz and a host of state agencies for their cooperation. I also thank Dr. Stephen Schondelmeyer of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy for once again generously sharing his expertise and insight with us.  I also thank Eli Lilly for working with us to come to a resolution that helps all Minnesotans.

“Above all, this settlement is a win for the advocates like Nicole Smith-Holt, and many others, who have fought for years, day in and day out, for affordable insulin for everyone, too often through tragedy. Every Minnesotan, whether they rely on insulin or not, owes them a debt of gratitude,” Attorney General Ellison concluded.

My family and myself are very grateful to the Attorney General's Office for all the time and hard work they have directed towards the insulin price crisis here in Minnesota,” said Nicole Smith-Holt, whose son Alec passed away due to diabetic ketoacidosis after he was forced to ration his insulin because of its high cost. “We feel very fortunate that Keith and his team understand just how important this issue is. With this settlement, so many more people who require insulin to stay healthy and alive will have better access to affordable insulin. Far too often, I hear of people like Alec who are rationing and risking their health and their lives, this program is one more opportunity in Minnesota for diabetics to get affordable insulin.”

Details and implementation of the settlement

The settlement requires Eli Lilly to provide insulin products — including Humalog, Humulin, Insulin Lispro, Basaglar, Lyumjev, Rezvoglar, and any biosimilar that Eli Lilly markets in Kwikpen, cartridge, or vial presentations — at $35 per monthly prescription for customers paying with cash. Even Minnesotans with insurance can choose to not use their insurance and pay no more than $35 per month. Eli Lilly has agreed to implement a texting system to assist pharmacists and patients to determine eligibility for low-cost insulin, and alert patients about this low-cost alternative at pharmacy counters throughout the state.

The five-year period of $35 Eli Lilly insulin products begins immediately. All Minnesotans need to do to purchase insulin for $35 is visit, download or print a savings card, and present it to their pharmacist along with their insulin prescription.

To be eligible for $35 per month Eli Lilly insulin, one must reside in Minnesota and not be enrolled in a government health care program (e.g., Medicare or Medical Assistance). Fortunately, President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act already capped the price of insulin at $35 per month for people on Medicare, and Minnesotans enrolled in Medical Assistance receive insulin for little or no charge.

In the months ahead, the Attorney General’s Office will work with local, state, and community partners to raise public awareness of the low-cost option afforded by this settlement. The Office will also work with those partners to identify high-need areas across the state to ensure that clinics eligible to enroll in the network of free insulin afforded by the settlement meet the needs of as many Minnesotans as possible.

The Attorney General’s Office is currently working to enroll clinics in the free insulin program, and will share the list of participating clinics with the media and public as clinics enroll. The Office encourages clinics with questions about getting involved in the insulin donation system to contact the Office with questions on eligibility and how to apply.

Attorney General Ellison’s office thanks the Department of Health, Department of Corrections, Department of Human Services, Department of Commerce, Minnesota Management and Budget, Department of Administration, and the Board of Pharmacy for their help in reaching this settlement.

The skyrocketing cost of insulin

When insulin was first discovered in 1921, just over a century ago, the scientists who discovered it sold their patents to the University of Toronto for $1 because they wanted it to save lives, with one of them famously saying, “Insulin does not belong to me, it belongs to the world.” Yet since then, pharmaceutical companies have generated billions of dollars in profit from it by charging exorbitant prices.

In 2018, when the Attorney General’s Office first sued Eli Lilly and the other manufacturers, a five-pack of Basaglar Kwikpens was listed at more than $390 and a five-pack of Humalog Kwikpens was listed at more than $630. According to the February 2020 final report of Attorney General Ellison’s Advisory Task Force on Lowering Pharmaceutical Drug Prices, the price of some insulin products has increased by more than 1,100 percent over the last two decades.

With this settlement today, Minnesotans can obtain a month’s supply of their insulin for $35, and for free, in some instances.

Other state and federal action to bring down the cost of insulin

Minnesota’s lawsuit against Sanofi-Aventis and Novo Nordisk will continue.

Insulin manufacturers and pharmacy benefits managers have faced increasing scrutiny over the skyrocketing cost of insulin. In the last year, the attorneys general of CaliforniaIllinoisArizona, and Utah have all filed lawsuits against insulin manufacturers Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi–Aventis, and in some cases against pharmacy benefit managers as well. Local governments in other states have filed similar lawsuits.

Also in 2023, the New York Attorney General settled that state’s investigations into the same three insulin manufacturers on terms very similar to Minnesota’s settlement with Eli Lilly announced today.

At the federal level, President Biden’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act has capped out-of-pocket costs of insulin to seniors on Medicare to $35 per monthly prescription, a price that Minnesota’s settlement with Eli Lilly now makes available to all Minnesotans. President Biden has called for capping the cost of insulin at $35 a month for all Americans. Legislation to this effect has been repeatedly introduced in Congress and passed the House of Representatives on a bipartisan basis in March 2022.

The Attorney General’s Office encourages consumers with complaints about their insulin to contact the Office online or by phone at (651) 296-3353 or (800) 657-3787, or at (800) 627-3529 (Minnesota Relay).