Insulin Is Too Expensive For Many Of My Patients. It Doesn't Have To Be.
At age 15, I developed an unquenchable thirst and frequent urination, and lost 20 pounds. I had developed Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that destroyed my body's ability to produce insulin. Without insulin, I would have eventually developed a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, which is lethal without (and even sometimes with) treatment. Years later, I'm a practicing endocrinologist. I could never have imagined back when I first started taking insulin that one day I would have so many patients who could not afford the medication because of skyrocketing prices. When the drug was discovered in 1921, the original patent was sold to the University of Toronto for $1 so that no one else could patent it and "secure a profitable monopoly." Numerous improvements later, insulin is produced by a three-company oligopoly. When the first of the newer insulin "analogs," Humalog, hit the market in 1996, it sold for $21 a vial. Today, vials of analog insulins, including Humalog, sell for about $300. Patients with Type 1 diabetes typically require two or three vials of insulin per month, but patients who are more resistant to insulin, such as those with Type 2 diabetes, may require six or more. A recent paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that insulin nearly tripled in cost from 2002 to 2013. A lawsuit filed in January accuses insulin companies of price collusion for allegedly raising prices repeatedly and in lockstep to match their competitors. Prices have gotten so bad that the American Diabetes Association recently launched an online petition at MakeInsulinAffordable.org, which has been signed by more than 248,000 people. Because insulin is so expensive, some people take less than their prescribed dose, causing higher blood sugars, which may lead Continue reading >>
How Much Do Diabetes Supplies/medications Cost In The U.s.?
While everyone’s diabetes treatment plan, medications, and technology may be different, there is one thing we can all agree on: diabetes is expensive. In two previous posts at The Perfect D, I gave some sense of what the bare minimum of care for a U.S. adult with Type 1 diabetes would be and also financial resources and programs to help with the financial burden of living with diabetes. However, this post is about how much it could cost an adult with Type 1 diabetes if they used the technology and medications that are currently out on the market (and thought of as “the latest and greatest”) and paid out of pocket with no insurance. Research on this topic has shown me that: 1) prices can fluctuate wildly, so it pays to shop around and 2) there is a very big gap (financially, medically, and technologically) between the bare minimum and “surviving” and actually utilizing the tools and latest technology that is out there. So, the hypothetical person for this exercise is a Type 1 adult in the United States who weighs 60kg, just like the other calculation post I did. Ground Rules These prices are accurate on the websites I have referenced for December 1, 2014. They may change, they may add shipping, they may not offer the services, technology, or drugs on their website after this is posted. These prices are not a guarantee. They are to be used as a reference. The listing of prices/websites on this post does not mean that I endorse the company or product or service. I have not listed all the products available on the market for people with Type 1 diabetes. I have listed major ones to give you an idea of major manufacturers’ costs for the products that are available for general public viewing. I did not call any companies and ask for pricing. Why? Because I believe Continue reading >>
The Rising Price Of Insulin
Diabetes is a chronic disease that afflicts 25.8 million Americans. Insulin, one of the primary treatments for diabetes, has been around since the 1920s. Yet, somehow the drug is still priced beyond the reach of many Americans. One of our advocates recently left a comment on our Facebook page regarding this problem, which encouraged us to take a closer look at it. Medication nonadherence (patients not taking medicine as prescribed) is undeniably related to diabetes-related health complications that result in emergency room visits and lost productivity. Diabetes is an expensive and deadly disease. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. and cost the country $245 billion last year. A few big pharmaceutical firms dominate the insulin market due to lengthy patents and lack of generic competition. Insulin is a biologic drug, which means that it is made up of living organisms rather than chemical compounds. This makes it more difficult to copy, which biotech companies often use as justification for the exorbitant prices they charge for the drugs. We’ve had anecdotal evidence from a consumer of a big price hike on her Humalog insulin this year. When she was trying to find out further information about the price increase, she was told by her insurance company to expect the drug to go up 25 percent more in December. News reports indicate that the cost of Lantus, a top-selling insulin produced by Sanofi, has gone up twice already this year, first 10 and then 15 percent. In addition, Novo Nordisk has also increased the price of Levemir, another common insulin treatment, by 10 percent. What’s going on here? Overall drug spending is slightly down due to generic drug utilization being up. And generic competition isn’t too far off for many of these drugs. It looks l Continue reading >>
Pay Or Die: The Price To Stay Alive
With everyone up in arms about the astronomical price increase of Epi-Pens, something necessary to help those with severe allergies, it has caused people to take a long hard look at some other, important prescription increases. INSULIN, something that is a necessity for those with Type 1 diabetes. Having Type 1 diabetes means your pancreas no longer produces its own insulin, so you can see where having access to this “live supporting medicine” is rather vital. A vial of insulin is on the rise and it is becoming increasingly difficult for those without insurance or a rather hefty paycheck to afford to stay alive or keep their children alive. My son, who is type 1, receives (4) vials of short acting insulin(bolus) monthly, the price for these without insurance would be nearly $1,200. My daughter, also a type 1 receives (1) vial of long acting (basal) insulin a month which would cost well over $350 without insurance. This is not the way the scientists who discovered insulin 95 years go imagined their discovery would be available to those in need. History of Insulin In 1921, Dr. Fredrick Banting and Charles best, made the biggest discovery of their careers. At the time, they did not realize how vital this discovery would be and the number of lives it would save in the future. Before the discovery of insulin, diabetes was a death sentence. Read about the history of diabetes. Adults and children were lucky to live a few short months before succumbing to the disease. The only treatment at the time was a starvation diet. Those few short months were painful and horrible for them, that the final reach of death seemed so wonderful. But in 1921, with their discovery, the lives of those diagnosed with diabetes would change forever. Dr. Banting and Charles Best made it clear that Continue reading >>
Insulin Prices Have Skyrocketed, Putting Drug Makers On The Defensive
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 medicine and 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 patients 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 pric Continue reading >>
Insulin Prices Keep Rising – Pay For Insulin Or Groceries?
Twenty-nine million Americans have diabetes. Many take insulin. Most need it to survive. Few can afford it. Some are faced with difficult financial decisions each month. Pay for insulin or rent? Pay for insulin or utility bills? Pay for insulin or groceries? Many choose to go without insulin or take lower doses to save on cost. Some Americans with Type 1 Diabetes, an autoimmune condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, have been hoarding insulin to safeguard against the prescription drug’s rising prices. Laura Marston of Washington D.C. is one such American. Without insurance, she was paying $140 for a vial of Humalog, a fast-acting insulin typically injected prior to meals (she needs three vials each month). She was able to get insurance with an expensive monthly premium but the insulin will still cost her about $200 out-of-pocket each month. Jump to Solutions for Saving on Insulin Abby Cope, a nurse out of Rochester, New York, pays $460 each month for her insulin. This is an out-of-pocket cost for her. She said she has considered rationing her insulin for the simple reason that she can’t afford it. As a nurse, Cope realizes the consequences of not following the prescribed regimen, but can’t imagine how it feels for those who don’t know and choose to go without due to the expense. In York, Pennsylvania, Robin Kann said she went to pick up her insulin at the usual pharmacy and found that it had increased from $106 to $593. She was shocked and questioned the pharmacy staff member about the price. The staff member replied, “Yes, all diabetes medicine jumped on September 30.” After the price hike, Kann will need to pay over $1,000 per month for two diabetes prescriptions. That is in addition to the $700 insurance premium she and her husband Continue reading >>
Do not share your NovoLog® FlexPen®, NovoLog® FlexTouch®, PenFill® cartridge or PenFill® cartridge compatible insulin delivery device with other people, even if the needle has been changed. You may give other people a serious infection, or get a serious infection from them. Who should not take NovoLog®? Do not take NovoLog® if: your blood sugar is too low (hypoglycemia) or you are allergic to any of its ingredients. How should I take NovoLog®? Read the Instructions for Use and take exactly as directed. NovoLog® is fast-acting. Eat a meal within 5 to 10 minutes after taking it. Know the type and strength of your insulin. Do not change your insulin type unless your health care provider tells you to. Check your blood sugar levels. Ask your health care provider what your blood sugar levels should be and when you should check them. Do not reuse or share your needles with other people. You may give other people a serious infection, or get a serious infection from them. Do not share your NovoLog® FlexPen®, NovoLog® FlexTouch®, PenFill® cartridge or PenFill® cartridge compatible insulin delivery device with other people, even if the needle has been changed. You may give other people a serious infection, or get a serious infection from them. Who should not take NovoLog®? Do not take NovoLog® if: your blood sugar is too low (hypoglycemia) or you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Before taking NovoLog®, tell your health care provider about all your medical conditions including, if you are: pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. taking new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including supplements. Talk to your health care provider about how to manage low blood sugar. How should I take NovoLog®? Read the Instructions for Use and ta 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 >>
You Can Buy Insulin Without A Prescription, But Should You?
As anyone with diabetes can tell you, managing the disease with insulin usually means regular checkups at the doctor's office to fine-tune the dosage, monitor blood-sugar levels and check for complications. But here's a little known fact: Some forms of insulin can be bought without a prescription. Carmen Smith did that for six years when she didn't have health insurance and didn't have a primary care doctor. She bought her insulin without a prescription at Wal-Mart. "It's not like we go in our trench coat and a top hat, saying, 'Uh I need the insulin,' " says Smith, who lives in Cleveland. "The clerks usually don't know it's a big secret. They'll just go, 'Do we sell over-the-counter insulin?' " Once the pharmacist says yes, the clerk just goes to get it, Smith says. "And you purchase it and go about your business." But it's still a pretty uncommon purchase. Smith didn't learn from a doctor that she could buy insulin that way. In fact, many doctors don't know it's possible. When she no longer had insurance to help pay for doctors' appointments or medicine, Smith happened to ask at Wal-Mart if she could get vials of the medicine without a prescription. To figure out the dose, she just used the same amount a doctor had given her years before. It was a way to survive, she says, but no way to live. It was horrible when she didn't get the size of the dose or the timing quite right. "It's a quick high and then, it's a down," Smith says. "The down part is, you feel icky. You feel lifeless. You feel pain. And the cramps are so intense — till you can't walk, you can't sit, you can't stand." Smith says her guesswork put her in the emergency room a handful of times over the years. The availability of insulin over the counter presents a real conundrum. As Smith's experience shows Continue reading >>
Medicare And Insulin
Why does a drug cost $25 without insurance and $110 with Medicare Part D? Novolin N and R can be bought at Walmart for $24.88 without insurance. With a Part D plan, the cost is $110. Why? I have a client who has diabetes. She uses Novolin N and Novolin R. If she uses her Medicare Part D plan to purchase this insulin, she would go into the donut hole/coverage gap because the “negotiated price” is $110 per vial and she uses four vials per month. So she goes to Walmart and buys Novolin N and Novolin R without using her Part D card. Her cost is $24.88 per vial. How is it possible that the insurance company that runs her Part D plan has “negotiated” a price of $110 for Novolin when it sells at Walmart for $25? Although the insurance companies that provide Part D plans “negotiate” drug prices, it is Medicare that actually pays the bill. So why is Medicare paying $110 instead of $25 for Novolin? Medicare will spend 70 billion dollars on Part D in 2015. How much lower would that incredible figure be if Medicare was not overpaying for drugs like Novolin? I looked up up Novolin N or Novolin R on the Medicare.gov Plan Finder. Here is just one of 30 stand-alone Part D plans available in Arizona. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer better co-pays for Novolin ($9 or $0), but the retail price is always over $100. I have written previously about my clients with high drug costs, and insulin has been part of the story: Medicare and Insulin: The retail price of insulin using a Part D plan ranges from $70 for a vial of Humalog to $395 for the Novolog Flexpen. Novolin is not the best insulin for managing diabetes, but it is the lowest-cost method if purchased at Walmart for $25. ************* When I googled “the cost of novolin” I found an article from Phoenix Diabetes and E Continue reading >>
Lantus Prices, Coupons And Patient Assistance Programs
Lantus (insulin glargine) is a member of the insulin drug class and is commonly used for Diabetes - Type 1 and Diabetes - Type 2. Lantus Prices This Lantus price guide is based on using the Drugs.com discount card which is accepted at most U.S. pharmacies. The cost for Lantus subcutaneous solution (100 units/mL) is around $276 for a supply of 10 milliliters, depending on the pharmacy you visit. Prices are for cash paying customers only and are not valid with insurance plans. Lantus is available as a brand name drug only, a generic version is not yet available. For more information, read about generic Lantus availability. Subcutaneous Solution Important: When there is a range of pricing, consumers should normally expect to pay the lower price. However, due to stock shortages and other unknown variables we cannot provide any guarantee. Drugs.com Printable Discount Card Print Now The free Drugs.com Discount Card works like a coupon and can save you up to 80% or more off the cost of prescription medicines, over-the-counter drugs and pet prescriptions. Please note: This is a drug discount program, not an insurance plan. Valid at all major chains including Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, Target, WalMart Pharmacy, Duane Reade and 63,000 pharmacies nationwide. Lantus Coupons and Rebates Lantus offers may be in the form of a printable coupon, rebate, savings card, trial offer, or free samples. Some offers may be printed right from a website, others require registration, completing a questionnaire, or obtaining a sample from the doctor's office. Sanofi Rx Savings Card for Lantus: Eligible patients may pay $0 copay on each of up to 12 prescriptions; for additional information contact the program at 800-981-2491. Applies to: Lantus SoloSTAR Pen Number of uses: 12 times Continue reading >>
Diabetes Drug Prices Tripled In A Decade
The number of people living with diabetes today is four times higher than it was a generation ago. That’s 422 million adults worldwide as of 2014, according to a report out this week by the World Health Organization. The WHO report cites lack of affordable insulin as one reason why diabetes patients worldwide are suffering complications or dying prematurely. And indeed, the price of insulin tripled from 2002 to 2013, according to an analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Bill Herman, an author on that study, joins guest host John Dankosky to talk about why the price is rising—and what, if anything, might be done about keeping these life-saving drugs affordable. Segment Guests @cintagliata Christopher Intagliata is Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese. Continue reading >>
Insulin Prices Skyrocketing
America’s getting plenty angry about the rising cost of insulin—and no wonder. Between 2002 and 2013, the average price for this life-saving, injectable drug used by nearly 10 million Americans with diabetes has tripled, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). “No one who relies on insulin should have to wonder if they’ll be able to afford it,” the ADA asserts in an online petition for its Stand Up for Affordable Insulin campaign.1 The ADA’s action doesn’t stand alone. In November, Vermont senator and former contender for the Democratic presidential nomination Bernie Sanders fired off a letter calling on the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission asking for an investigation of pharmaceutical makers Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi for possibly colluding on insulin price increases.2 “Not only have these pharmaceutical companies raised insulin prices significantly—sometimes by double digits overnight—in many instances the prices have apparently increased in tandem,” noted the letter, co-signed by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). “We have…heard from our constituents that the life-saving insulin they need is increasingly unaffordable,” And in early January 2017, the New York law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann sued Novo Nordisk on behalf of the Lehigh County (PA) Employees' Retirement System alleging the company “reported materially false and misleading earnings and forecasts” that were “inflated” by price fixing. That’s not all. In a rapidly-changing insulin market, the recent introduction in the U.S. of the generic “biosimilar insulin” called Basaglar, which won FDA approval in December 2015, has put a lower-priced type on the market. This development reportedly prompted two major manufactu 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 >>
How Much Does Insulin Cost Per Month?
Changing Cost of Insulin Therapy in the U.S. ... how much profit does the PBM make? Between 2005 and 2015 the cost of a lispro vial went up 264 percent, while a vial of insulin glargine went up 348 percent, and a vial of NPH went up 364 percent. Why Our Drugs Cost So Much Nothing stops drug companies from charging the highest price the market will bear. Insulin costs have soared from $100$200 per month a few years ago to $400$500 a month now. A portion of the cost of both pump and supplies is generally covered by a persons health insurance. Today I learned that the cost of the two prescriptions is MORE THAN MY HOUSE PAYMENT!! How much you can expect to pay out of pocket for an insulin pump, including what people paid in 2017. The Exorbitant Cost of Diabetes Drugs Killed This Man ... dying because of the high price of insulin. Even the same medication can vary in price from store to store. ... How much of the cost will my insurance cover? The cost of an Want the lowest plexus slim cost? How much does Part A cost? Insulin pumps are portable devices attached to the body that deliver constant amounts of rapid or short acting insulin via a catheter placed under the skin. Premixed insulin pens and NPH insulin pens containing regular human insulin can be stored at room temperature for 10 to 14 days, and pens containing insulin analogs (ie, lispro, aspart, glulisine, glargine, and detemir) can be stored for 28 or more days. ... and other ways to reduce your cost. How Much Do Oral Medications Cost? Insulin cost?? How much does insulin cost per day for a Type 1 diabetic in India on average? ... Lantus is a long-acting type of insulin. ! The price varies depending upon the features, brand and size of the pump. A pump costs about $5,500, and supplies cost about $100 per month. Part Continue reading >>