Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) took another big swipe at America's rebate-hungry reimbursement system by launching a generic competitor for two more of its popular insulin lispro containing products. 

Diabetes patients that want to manage their blood sugar levels with Humalog Mix 75/25 or Humalog Junior will have a new less expensive option. Eli Lilly will offer generic versions of both insulin-lispro containing brands.

Close up of pharmacist stocking shelves.

Image source: Getty Images.

Wider margins at half the price

A five-pack of Insulin Lispro Protamine injector pens will have a list price set at $265.20, which is less than half as much as the identical product branded as Humalog Mix75/25. Despite the steep discount, Eli Lilly will probably record more net revenue from each pen sold as a generic.

Insurers and healthcare plan sponsors have a bottomless appetite for rebates and discounts that they don't always share with their customers. The gap between list prices Eli Lilly raises each year and the amount the company records as net revenue has finally reached a breaking point.

A not so big deal

During the first nine months of 2019, sales of Humalog and Humulin products fell to $3.0 billion but its continued decline isn't going to send Eli Lilly off a cliff. That's because the pharmaceutical company has done an impressive job expanding its line of successful product offerings in recent years. 

If launching generic versions Humalog doesn't allow the company to increase total insulin sales, it's not the end of the world. Thanks to a handful of successful drugs that are much younger, Lilly relies on its Humalog franchise for less than one-fifth of total revenue at the moment.