COVID-19 Updates from Diabetes Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Manufacturers

At a time when life is uncertain for so many, especially our diabetes community, we want to make sure you have a centralized source for diabetes information and patient assistance – in response to COVID-19 or otherwise.

Best advice during COVID-19: plan ahead! It could take extra time to get prescriptions filled as possible delays may result in pharmacies being temporarily out of stock.

Stewart Perry, Vice Chair of DPAC said recently (and if you’ve met him, you know he says this often): “Never, never, never, never, NEVER ration your insulin. Ever. If you are struggling, reach out to us, to the broader community, to social media channels. We are all in this together, and no one should ever have to risk his or her life – or the lives of family members – because they cannot get insulin.”

All three major manufacturers have reported that they maintain a strong supply of insulin despite the pandemic. They’ve also said that help is available for people that need it – we want to be sure you know where to find it! Below are statements and information we’ve gathered from diabetes pharmaceutical & medical device manufacturers.

CHANGES TO ASSISTANCE IN LIGHT OF COVID-19

Abbott: On April 8, Abbott announced that the FDA has approved the FreeStyle Libre 14 day CGM system for use in the hospital setting during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will permit frontline healthcare workers to remotely monitor patients with diabetes receiving inpatient care by assessing real-time glucose levels and glucose history. To help hospitals and medical centers in COVID-19 outbreak hotspots ramp up access to the technology, Abbott will donate 25,000
FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensors in partnership with the American Diabetes Association (ADA), Insulin for Life USA and Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition. For more information about using FreeStyle Libre 14 day system in the hospital, please contact 1-800-401-1183. For the full press release: https://abbott.mediaroom.com/2020-04-08-Abbotts-FreeStyle-R-Libre-14-Day-System-Now-Available-in-U-S-for-Hospitalized-Patients-with-Diabetes-During-COVID-19-Pandemic

Novo Nordisk: Starting April 13, people with diabetes using Novo Nordisk insulin who have lost health insurance coverage because of a change in job status due to COVID-19 may be eligible to receive insulin free-of charge for 90 days. We will make this available through the end of the year as we monitor how the pandemic continues to affect our nation. If someone is facing a loss of healthcare benefits, Novo Nordisk will not require documented proof of income to qualify.
We will require documentation showing loss of healthcare benefits through job termination notice or job status change, or proof that COBRA benefits are being offered. And, in situations where required documentation is not quickly accessible and there is a risk of rationing, we have an Immediate Supply option available that may help by providing what amounts to a free, one month supply (up to three vials or two packs of pens) for many. Assistance can be extended to the end of 2020, after the 90-day window, for otherwise eligible patients who have been denied Medicaid coverage. For more information visit https://www.novonordiskus.com/media/COVID19.html

Most importantly, whether COVID-19 related or not, NovoCare® is our one-stop resource to help people with diabetes to identify long-term solutions based on their needs.

My$99Insulin: all patients may be eligible to get a 30-day supply of a combination of Novo Nordisk insulin products (up to 3 vials or 2 packs of pens) for $99 for up to 12 months. Register at https://www.novocare.com/insulin/my99insulin.html.
Contact NovoCare® at www.NovoCare.com and through live support at the following phone numbers: Diabetes: 844-Novo4Me (844-668-6463, M-F, 8:30am-6:00pm); Obesity: 888-809-3942 (M-F, 8:00am-8:00pm).

Lilly: In response to the crisis caused by COVID-19, Lilly is introducing the Lilly Insulin Value Program, allowing anyone with commercial insurance and those without insurance to fill their monthly prescription of Lilly insulin for $35. The Lilly Diabetes Solution Center, through which representatives can direct people to the $35 savings card, as well as affordability options that may reduce their out-of-pocket costs further – such as free insulin for people with minimal income, or no income at all, that has been donated by Lilly to non-profit organizations.

We have options that cover a variety of personal circumstances, including how to access free insulin if your income is limited or has gone away completely. The calls are simple, the average conversation is about 10 minutes, and there’s no paperwork to fill out. We have operators who can take calls in Spanish and we can translate information into about 40 languages. Please call us. We want to help.
Contact the Solution Center at (833) 808-1234. The Solution Center is open 8 am to 8 pm (EDT) Monday through Friday.

Xeris: Xeris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced a limited-time $0 copay offering for commercially eligible patients effective now through April 30, 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “In this time of uncertainty, people with diabetes need a glucagon product they can easily administer if their blood sugar goes severely low. Unfortunately, most people with diabetes on insulin either don’t have glucagon at home or have an antiquated glucagon kit that studies have
shown very few people can correctly administer especially under duress. To quickly change this paradigm and relieve the stress of financial barriers, we are offering a $0 copay card through the end of April. Simply put, anyone with commercial insurance that gets a prescription for Gvoke PFS will pay $0 out of pocket,” said Paul R. Edick, Chairman and CEO of Xeris.

“Given that the U.S. healthcare system is being overwhelmed with the COVID-19 crisis, access to hospitals may be limited in the event of severe low blood sugar requiring rescue. Therefore, people with diabetes need access to a ready-to-use glucagon option they can use correctly… In addition to having Gvoke PFS available at the chain and local pharmacies, we have a home delivery option through PillPack by Amazon Pharmacy.” Read more at:
https://www.xerispharma.com/api/files/834

INFORMATION AND EXISTING RESOURCES FROM DIABETES-RELATED COMPANIES

Ascensia: At PHC Group and Ascensia Diabetes Care, the health and safety of our customers, employees and the patients we serve is our number one priority. At present, there appears to be no immediate impact on the supply of our test strips and meters, and we do not anticipate any short-term issues related to the supply of these products due to COVID-19.

Nonetheless, we are beginning to experience some transportation challenges, with enhanced screening putting pressure on road shipments at borders and the decline in the number of commercial flights affecting air freight availability. Although these are not directly impacting our ability to supply products, they may have an impact on supply in certain markets depending on how long we experience these limitations.

However, we have solid business continuity plans in place to manage our global supply and are working closely with our partners to ensure we are able to maintain production and supply of our strips and meters to all countries.

AstraZeneca: AstraZeneca is responding to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak, consistent with our values to follow the science, put patients first and do the right thing. Our priorities are to ensure the continued supply of our medicines to patients, and to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all our employees and communities. Our medicines supply chain is robust, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. Our stringent quality management system ensures the safety, quality and efficacy of all our medicines at all times. The company is donating nine million face masks to support healthcare workers around the world as they respond to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) global pandemic. AstraZeneca has
partnered with the World Economic Forum’s COVID Action Platform, created with the support of the World Health Organisation, to identify countries in greatest need. Italy was selected to receive the first shipments the week of March 24, with other countries to follow.

Boehringer Ingelheim: The increasing spread of COVID-19 has an impact on all areas of life. As a global company with more than 50,000 employees across the globe, we have taken many measures to protect the health of our employees and ensure the continued supply of our medicines to the people who need them. Boehringer Ingelheim is also engaged in various initiatives to contain and cope with the global spread of COVID-19.

The BI Cares Patient Assistance Program is a charitable program provided by the Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation (BI Cares) that provides Boehringer Ingelheim medicines free of charge to uninsured and underinsured US patients who meet our eligibility requirements. Our goal is to invest our resources to help the most patients with the greatest need, including senior citizens and families with limited incomes.

To call the BI Cares Patient Assistance Program dial 1-800-556-8317 toll-free Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m EST. To check eligibility and apply for the program, visit https://www.boehringer-ingelheim.us/our-responsibility/patient-assistance-program

Dexcom: At Dexcom, we are tracking the Coronavirus situation closely with three key priorities in mind: keeping our employees safe; serving our patients; and doing what we can to minimize the spread in our community. The State of California, headquarters for Dexcom, recently issued a stay-at-home mandate. As a healthcare organization, Dexcom is as an “essential business” and, thus, exempted from the mandate. We have reviewed our supply chain in detail, and while we will continue to monitor it closely, at this moment there are no interruptions to Dexcom’s ability to produce and supply product as a result of the Coronavirus. Additionally, we continue to take every step to ensure every single one of our products that goes out the door meets the highest safety standards. We are committed to communicating with our customers as the situation evolves.

Insulet: Insulet continues to vigilantly monitor and manage the global impact of the Coronavirus outbreak and we do not anticipate any product supply issues at this time. We have contingency plans in place and have built inventory and redundancy throughout our supply chain that is designed to mitigate against any supply shortages. Our global manufacturing facilities are running and producing Pods. In addition, our automated manufacturing facility in the U.S. is providing redundancy, risk mitigation, and additional capacity. Some have asked about ordering more supplies to stock up for the coronavirus. Due to the need for a prescription for your specific quantity needs, we recommend that you speak to your healthcare provider.

Contact the Customer Care team with questions at 1(800) 591-3455. If you or someone you care for is currently using the Omnipod System and may need financial assistance, contact us online or call us at 800-591-3455 and select Option 3 for billing assistance.

Merck: While supply and demand vary by product, there are not any current impacts from COVID-19 on the production and supply of our medicines and vaccines for the U.S. However, we are working to assess an increase in demand for our pneumococcal vaccine. As communities around our manufacturing facilities are impacted by various social distancing measures implemented by authorities, we will assess the impact of reduced staffing levels on our supply
chains.

The Merck Access Program which provides information about insurance coverage and available financial assistance options for certain Merck products continues to operate during this crisis (merckaccessprogram.com). Merck Patient Assistance Program continues to operate as well (merckhelps.com). This program provides certain medicines and adult vaccines, for free, for people who may qualify.

Sanofi: In June 2019, Sanofi expanded its Insulins Valyou Savings Program so people with diabetes can pay $99 to access their Sanofi insulins with a valid prescription for up to 10 boxes of pens and/or 10 mL vials per month. If you are taking more than one insulin manufactured by Sanofi, you still pay $99 for your monthly supply for any Sanofi Insulins (up to 10 vials or packs of pens per fill). In order for you to pay $99 per month, you must fill all your Sanofi Insulin prescriptions at the same time, together each month. For more information or to learn how to access this program, visit www.InsulinsValYOU.com.

Sanofi continues to offer other resources to make insulins more accessible including co-pay cards which may limit out-of-pocket expenses sometimes to $0 for all commercially insured patients regardless of income level. In addition, Sanofi offers assistance programs that provide medications, including insulin, at no charge for qualified low-income, uninsured patients through the patient assistance component of the Sanofi Patient Connection program. Contact the Sanofi Patient Connection at (888) 847-4877 or visit http://www.sanofipatientconnection.com/

Janssen / Johnson & Johnson: Our team at Johnson & Johnson has robust business continuity plans in place across its global supply chain network to prepare for unforeseen events like the coronavirus outbreak. These steps include maintaining critical inventory at major distribution centers away from high-risk areas and working with external suppliers to support our preparedness plans. We are closely monitoring product demand and supply levels across our
global network to ensure adequate and effective distribution and are working diligently to meet patient, customer and consumer needs. While this remains a dynamic situation, we do not foresee pharmaceutical supply or medical device interruptions related to COVID-19 at this time.

INFORMATION FROM CARDIOVASCULAR PHARMACEUTICAL MANUFACTURERS

Amarin: Approximately 10 million people with diabetes are at elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of men and women in the United States. To directly support patient care, Amarin plans to continue to provide digital and internet-based educational materials and copay cards and will continue to ship samples. The company responded to questions regarding whether its supply chain for Vascepa is likely to be significantly impacted by COVID-19. Amarin’s supply chain is diversified and therefore mitigates geographical risks. None of Amarin’s manufacturing is conducted in China. Furthermore, Amarin has built significant stockpiles of VASCEPA in the United States.

 

– Julie Babbage, CEO, DPAC

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