What’s Behind Skyrocketing Insulin Prices?
Here’s a sticking point for diabetics: the cost of insulin more than tripled — from $231 to $736 a year per patient — between 2002 and 2013, according to a new analysis. The increase reflected rising prices for a milliliter of insulin, which climbed 197 percent from $4.34 per to $12.92 during the same period. Meanwhile, the amount of money spent by each patient on other diabetes medications fell 16 percent, to $502 from $600, according to a research letter published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “Insulin is a life-saving medication,” said Dr. William Herman, a coauthor of the analysis and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. “There are people with type 1 diabetes who will die without insulin. And while there have been incremental benefits in insulin products, prices have been rising. So there are people who can’t afford them. It’s a real problem.” The analysis also found that the cost of various widely used oral diabetes drugs either dropped in price or did not rise nearly as significantly as insulin. Metformin, for instance, which is available as a generic, fell to 31 cents in 2013 from $1.24 per tablet in 2002. And the newer class of diabetes drugs known as DPP-4 inhibitors rose 34 percent since becoming available in 2006. The researchers analyzed data from nearly 28,000 diabetes found in the Medical Expenditure Panel, a database on health care costs maintained by the US Department of Health and Human Services. About 1 in 4 people used insulin and two-thirds took a pill. Toward the end of the study period, a small percentage began taking new injectable medicines that are designed to complement pills. There have been previous efforts to track insulin prices in recent years, bu Continue reading >>
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‘generic’ Basaglar Is Cheaper Than Lantus But Does It Work?
Basaglar U-100 insulin glargine, which is a follow-on biologic insulin to Lantus is now available by prescription in the US. Basaglar, from Eli Lilly and Company and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is not technically a generic to Lantus but it does have an amino acid sequence identical to Lantus and has been FDA approved as a long-acting insulin for patients of all ages with type 1 diabetes and adults with type 2 diabetes. David Kendall, M.D. and the vice president of Global Medical Affairs for Lilly Diabetes said in Lilly’s press release, “Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim are proud to bring another proven effective diabetes treatment choice to people who may need a long-acting insulin to help control their blood sugar,” and that “We know that starting insulin can be a challenging experience for some people with type 2 diabetes. As part of our continuing commitment to the diabetes community, we are expanding our educational resources.” Is it Cheaper? Business Insider reported that Basaglar “is 15% less than the list price of Lantus and Toujeo, two long-acting insulins made by Sanofi Aventis, 21% less than the list price of Levemir, and 28% less than Tresiba, two long-acting insulins made by Novo Nordisk.” An Eli Lilly spokesperson told Business Insider that before discounts or insurance coverage, the list price for a 5-pen pack of Basaglar is $316.85. You will be able to get Basaglar from retail and mail order pharmacies. Basaglar has also been chosen for the formularies of the top three pharmacy benefit managers and is expected to be covered by many commercial insurance plans. The pharmacy benefit manager CVS Health has dropped Lantus and replaced it with Basaglar for their next year’s formulary. In their announcement, CVS Health stated that th Continue reading >>
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The Easiest Way To Save On Prescription Drugs
All year long, Clark.com’s Michael Timmermann is sharing quick and easy ways to save money as part of our Michael Saves series. Check in every Monday as he puts new and familiar savings strategies to the test. Sign up for our newsletter to have these stories delivered to your inbox! Prescription drug prices have skyrocketed to the point where studies have found that nearly a third of patients don’t get their first-time prescriptions filled because they just can’t afford them. But what you may not realize is that you can save a lot of money just by shopping around using your smartphone. Read more: How I save 75% on prescription drugs Free apps like GoodRx and LowestMed are popular because you can easily search nearby pharmacies for discounts and coupons that you didn’t know existed. In some cases, the apps find prices that are even lower than your insurance co-pay — or sometimes free! We wanted to see the difference between these two apps — which are both very easy to use — so we decided to compare the prices of some of America’s most prescribed drugs, choosing generics when possible. Synthroid (levothyroxine) Crestor (rosuvastatin) Ventolin HFA (albuterol) Nexium (esomeprazole) Advair Diskus (fluticasone) Lantus Solostar (insulin glargine) Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) Lyrica (pregabalin) Spiriva Handihaler (tiotropium) Januvia (sitagliptin) The makers of these apps say prices vary significantly from drugstore to drugstore, especially with generics. Sometimes the apps have different prices for the same drug — at the same pharmacy! Here are some additional side-by-side comparisons, with LowestMed on the left and GoodRx on the right: Amoxicillin, 30 capsules of 500mg LowestMed: $4.00 (Walmart) GoodRx: Free (Publix) Atorvastatin (generic Lipitor), 30 tablets Continue reading >>
New Biosimilar Insulin May Provide Cheaper Alternative To Lantus — How Does It Compare?
Welcome to trial watch, where we keep an eye on the latest and greatest trials going on in the field of diabetes. Here, you can learn about new therapies and devices currently under study, and learn more about participating in these trials. Trial participants can get early access to new treatments, receive care at clinical trial centers, and are usually compensated for their time. You can read more about clinical trials at the “Center Watch” volunteer page or the ClinicalTrials.Gov information page. Clinical Trial Identifier: NCT02302716 Trial name: A Study of LY2963016 Compared to Lantus in Adult Participants with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (Element 5) Diabetes type: Type 2 diabetes What it’s testing: This trial is evaluating the safety and efficacy of the insulin “LY2963016” compared to Lantus in adults with type 2 diabetes who are on two or more oral anti-diabetic medications (diabetes pills, e.g., metformin, SGLT-2 inhibitors, DPP-4 inhibitors). LY2963016 is Lilly/BI’s version of insulin glargine, a long-acting/basal insulin for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Trial participants will be randomly selected to receive daily injections of either LY2963016 or Lantus for 24 weeks while continuing to take their current doses of oral anti-diabetic medications. What the trial is measuring: Change in A1c over 24 weeks, changes in basal insulin dose, changes in body weight, and others. More details here. Why is this new/important: Sanofi’s patent for Lantus expires this year, leaving the door open for other companies to introduce “biosimilar” versions of insulin glargine – in the case of Lilly/BI’s LY2963016 (and others in development), it has the same protein sequence and comparable blood sugar-lowering effects. This insulin already received “tentative appro Continue reading >>
Cvs Will No Longer Reimburse Health Insurers For This Insulin Drug
U.S. pharmacy benefit manager CVS will drop Sanofi’s main insulin drug Lantus from the list of medicines it reimburses on behalf of health insurers, dealing a blow to the French drugmaker’s key diabetes business. CVS said it would switch instead to Ely Lilly’s cheaper biosimilar drug Basaglar from 2017. Biosimilars are cheaper copies of protein-based biotech drugs such as Lantus, which are no longer protected by patents. They cannot be precisely replicated like conventional chemical drugs but have been shown to be equivalent in terms of efficacy and side effects. U.S. pharmacy benefit managers such as CVS help private-sector medical insurers negotiate better prices from drugmakers and also draw up so-called formularies, which are exclusive lists of drugs they reimburse for the insurers they work for. CVS, which has nearly 80 million plan members, announced on Tuesday a number of changes to its formulary, saying they would lead to significant savings. The company also said it would no longer reimburse Toujeo, Sanofi’s next-generation diabetes drug. Sanofi shares were down 1.4 percent at 1250 GMT. “Sanofi is disappointed by this decision. Healthcare professionals and patients should have a choice regarding their treatment,” a spokesman for the French group said in an emailed statement. “We will continue our ongoing discussions with other insurers,” he said, adding CVS’s announcement did not change the group’s forecasts. The patent on Lantus expired in 2015 in the United States, the world’s largest drugs market, and Sanofi hopes to revive declining diabetes sales with Toujeo, launched in March 2015. Switzerland’s Novartis and Actelion were also dealt blows by CVS’s new formulary. In a research note, Citi analysts said CVS’s new formulary marked Continue reading >>
A Cheaper Version Of The Lifesaving Diabetes Medication Just Launched In The Us
A Type 1 diabetes patient holds up bottles of insulin.Reuters/Lucy Nicholson A new form of insulin just hit American markets. It's called Basaglar, and it is 15% less than the list price of Lantus and Toujeo, two long-acting insulins made by Sanofi Aventis, 21% less than the list price of Levemir, and 28% less than Tresiba, two long-acting insulins made by Novo Nordisk. Basaglar was approved in December 2015, but had to wait a year before launching on Thursday. A spokeswoman for Eli Lilly, the company that makes Basaglar and other insulins, told Business Insider that the list price for a pack of 5 pens is $316.85 — that's before any discounts, or factoring in what insurance might cover. It is part of a group of medications called "follow-on biologics" and together, they are expected to save the US billions of dollars over the next decade. Why there's no generic form of insulin For people living with Type 1 diabetes and some who live with Type 2, injections of insulin — a hormone that helps people absorb and process the sugar in food — are a necessary part of daily life. And insulin, in one form or another, has been around since the 1920s. But because it's made of living cells, it’s what doctors call a biologic product, and it's more complicated and difficult to manufacture than the medicines most often produced generically. That's why Basaglar isn't considered a generic, it's called a "follow-on biologic." Others taking this approach have gotten approved as biosimilars, and like Basaglar have come in at a slight discount — roughly 15% — off the list price of the original drug. To become a follow-on biologic, Basaglar had to show that its version of the drug was "sufficiently similar to Lantus to scientifically justify reliance," and the drug had to be tested Continue reading >>
The Cost Of Fast Acting Insulin, Are There Cheaper Alternatives?
As diabetics, we are all well aware of fast acting insulin and the vital role it plays when it comes to keeping us alive and upright, but for those newly diagnosed diabetics (type 1 and type 2), Insulin is secreted by the beta cells in the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, a small organ between the stomach and liver. This hormone regulates the sugar levels in the human body. When the pancreas stops secreting insulin, it results in hyperglycemia which is a common and lethal symptom of diabetes. There are several rapid acting insulin brands, and as a type 1 diabetic, I am extremely reliant upon fast acting insulin, Novolog in particular. When discussing a topic over on The Organic Diabetic Facebook page, we got onto the subject of all the negative side effects associated with insulin and blood sugar regulation. So for all you newly diagnosed type 1’s, lets take a peek at some of the most dangerous side effects associated with fast acting insulin. Also, what drives the cost of insulin and are there programs to help defer the costs? Lets take a closer look! Diabetes And Insulin: Less common, but potentially more serious, is generalized allergy to fast acting insulin, which may cause rash (including pruritus) over the whole body, shortness of breath, wheezing, reduction in blood pressure, rapid pulse, or sweating. Severe cases of generalized allergy, including anaphylactic reaction, may be life threatening. Localized reactions and generalized myalgias have been reported with the use of cresol as an injectable excipient (preservative to keep insulin potent). Fast Acting And Hyperglycemia: Hyperglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, or diabetic coma may develop if the patient takes less fast acting insulin than needed to control blood glucose levels. This could be due to insul Continue reading >>
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Selecting The Best Insulin For Diabetic Cats When Cost Becomes Factor
I have an overweight (16 lb; 7.3 kg) male DSH cat who has been fairly well regulated on 3 units of glargine (Lantus) administered twice daily. He has been diabetic for over a year and has done well on a low-carbohydrate diet (less than 10% of calories as carbs). However, the owner reports that the cost of glargine has risen again (now to just over $200 at our local pharmacy), so the owner wants to switch to another insulin preparation. Glargine has always been my first choice of insulin in diabetic cats so I'm not sure of which insulin would be the best (and cheapest) for this owner to switch to. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'd still like to get this cat to go into remission, but I'm afraid that this will never happen if I stop the Lantus and change to another insulin preparation. My Response: The rising cost of all of the human insulin analogs, such as glargine and detemir, are indeed becoming a problem for many owners. If you and the owner decide to switch to another insulin preparation, you have 4 insulin preparations that could be considered (all should be given twice a day): Levemir (insulin detemir), another long-acting human insulin analog ProZinc (Protamine Zinc Insulin; PZI), a long-acting veterinary insulin preparation Humulin N or Novolin N (NPH insulin), an intermediate-acting human insulin preparation Vetsulin (porcine insulin zinc suspension; lente), an intermediate-acting veterinary insulin preparation Cost comparison Levemir (detemir): As far as cost, the retail price of Levemir will be about the same or even more than glargine (~$200 per vial), so that's not a good option for this owner. ProZinc (PZI): A 10-mL vial of ProZinc insulin will be a bit cheaper than either a 10-mL vial of glargine or detemir. Most veterinarians will charge ~$125 Continue reading >>
How Do I Get Lantus Insulin Less Expensively?
November 2, 2013-- How do I get Lantus Insulin Less Expensively? DCIN receives this question a few times a week from US caregivers of diabetic cats. I am often amazed by the question because of the “good” insulins for diabetic cats, Lantus can be the least expensive per unit. The problem often lies in knowing how to find the insulin inexpensively. (The hints I give also apply to Levemir, another human insulin often used by diabetic cats.) Your vet gave you a prescription that probably read “U100 Glargine/Lantus 10ml vial.” Lantus is the brand name for the generic insulin Glargine. Lantus is an insulin for humans and is only available from a human pharmacy (although some vets do hold some in stock). The company Sanofi makes Lantus, and no other companies currently make a generic Glargine because Sanofi still has an international patent on the insulin. That may change in 2014, and by then Sanofi may have developed a “second-generation” Lantus that is patent protected. Lantus is a U100 insulin, which describes the concentration of the insulin in the liquid suspension. A 10ml vial is the insulin’s containment device. It is a small glass bottle with a rubber stopper at the end that you pierce with a syringe. At a US retail pharmacy, a 10ml vial of Lantus can cost about $180 to $200. WOWZA! That does seem cause for sticker shock. A 10ml vial of U100 insulin holds 1000 units of insulin. At $200/vial, that is a price of $.20/unit. If your cat gets 2 units of insulin twice a day, that is $.80/day for its insulin (if you could completely use a vial of Lantus insulin). It would cost less each day to give your cat its life-saving medicine that to buy a soda from a vending machine. However, the problem with buying Lantus in a 10ml vial is that, properly handled, Lantus Continue reading >>
How To Find A Lantus Coupon
It looks like this page may be out of date. Please visit NerdWallet’s health hub for our latest content. Diabetics don’t have much of a choice when it comes to taking their insulin, and the costs can be very high, so a Lantus coupon can be invaluable. Paired with diabetic supplies like syringes and blood glucose testing equipment, diabetes is an expensive disease. But with a little bit of information and some resourcefulness, you may be able to save on your monthly prescriptions. Lantus is a long-acting insulin made by Sanofi-Aventis and prescribed to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. Diabetics are unable to naturally produce or use insulin like most people, so they take injections of synthetic insulin to help regulate their blood sugar. Generic Lantus At this time, there is no generic form of Lantus available. However, that may soon change. The patents protecting Lantus from cheaper generic alternatives expired in February 2015, so less expensive forms of the drug may be coming. When this happens, opting for generic will likely be the best way to save on Lantus, and because of FDA requirements, you don’t have to worry about the generic version being less effective or less safe. Although some people avoid buying generics because they are afraid they won’t work as well as the name brands, those fears are largely unfounded. Lantus coupons from the manufacturer One carton of Lantus can cost close to $400 without insurance, according to GoodRx.com, though Lantus may very well be part of your insurance formulary. Currently, the maker of the drug offers a Lantus Savings Card. According to its website, the card can reduce your prescription cost to no more than $25. However, it also says there is a maximum benefit of $100 off each prescription for the duration of the pr Continue reading >>
New Metformin Combination Medicine Approved For Type 2 Diabetes
On October 30, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the combination oral diabetes drug Xigduo XR for use, along with a healthful diet and exercise, in adults with Type 2 diabetes. The medicine, a development of AstraZeneca, combines dapagliflozin (brand name Farxiga), an SGLT2 inhibitor, and extended-release metformin (Glucophage XR and others). In the process of filtering the blood, the kidneys typically reabsorb all the filtered glucose and return it to the bloodstream. One of the main proteins responsible for this reabsorption is SGLT2. By inhibiting the action of SGLT2, Farxiga blocks the reabsorption of glucose by the kidneys, promoting a loss of glucose in the urine and lowering blood glucose levels. Metformin works by decreasing the amount of glucose made by the liver and by improving insulin sensitivity in the liver, muscle, and fat cells. Xigduo XR, the first once-daily combination tablet of an SGLT2 inhibitor and extended-release metformin approved in the United States, will be offered in doses of 5 milligrams of dapagliflozin/500 milligrams of metformin, 5 milligrams of dapagliflozin/1,000 milligrams of metformin, 10 milligrams of dapagliflozin/500 milligrams of metformin, and 10 milligrams of dapagliflozin/1,000 milligrams of metformin to be taken once a day in the morning with food. This medicine should not be used in people with Type 1 diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis (a potentially life-threatening condition marked by a chemical imbalance in the body), or moderate to severe kidney impairment. Because of the inclusion of metformin, Xigduo XR carries the risk of a rare but serious metabolic complication known as lactic acidosis. The most commonly reported side effects of Farxiga plus metformin compared to placebo (inactive treatment) plus metfo Continue reading >>
How To Get Insulin At A Cheaper Price
Insulin can be expensive. If you’re one of the 6 million Americans with diabetes relying on this main-stay treatment, you could be paying out-of-pocket costs anywhere from $120 to $400 per month, according to a 2015 New England Journal of Medicine commentary. Drugs such as Lantus (insulin glargine) and Levemir (insulin detemir) have seen significant cost increases, according to a recent trend report by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts. One reason for the high prices is the lack of generic options for insulin. So for now, you’re stuck having to search around to find affordable options. Where do you shop for more affordable insulin? For some people though, high drug costs can mean making difficult financial choices. Our national polls show people might cut back on groceries and paying bills to pay for their medications. To minimize your costs, consider these options: Prescription Assistance Programs If you don’t have health insurance or are without drug coverage, look into applying for a patient assistance program (PAP). Through the nonprofit NeedyMeds, you can find some programs that offer free or low-cost insulin as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. Those are usually based on your insurance status, income, and diagnosis. You might also qualify for a diagnosis-specific program that can help you save on syringes, pumps, and other diabetes supplies. Pharmacists are also a great resource and can help you find a PAP that meets your financial needs. Switch Drugs Another way to save is by asking your doctor whether there’s a lower-priced insulin that’s right for you. While “long-acting” is a more popular type of insulin, it's also more expensive, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it works better. “It’s mostly a marketing ploy,” says M Continue reading >>