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Insulin Prices In Canada

The Rising Price Of Insulin

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 >>

The Most Costly Places In Canada For Patients To Have Diabetes

The Most Costly Places In Canada For Patients To Have Diabetes

The Personal Health Navigator is available to all Canadian patients. Questions about your doctor, hospital or how to navigate the health care system can be sent to [email protected] The Question: What are the best and worst places to have diabetes in Canada, based on the cost of needles and other supplies? The Answer: This question came via twitter from a patient, who rightly pointed out that health care in Canada isn’t always fully covered, especially when it comes to having a chronic condition such as diabetes. Out-of-pocket costs for patients with Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, were lowest per year for those living in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, where it is fully covered. In the Yukon, there is a $250 deductible, then full coverage. The next lowest provinces are Quebec ($1,546.58) and Saskatchewan ($1,870.50). The highest costs were encountered in New Brunswick ($3,426.99), Newfoundland and Labrador ($3,396.04) and Prince Edward Island ($3036.31). Ontario ($2,073.50) was considered a middle performer. That compares to the Canadian average ($1,824.97), according to June 2011 data provided by the Canadian Diabetes Association. Those figures are based on payments made by those with an annual individual income of $30,000. In many cases, the out-of-pocket increases for those with the higher incomes of $43,000 and $75,000, save for the Yukon, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, where the amounts are the same, no matter the income. The amounts are based on case studies and include the cost for medications, devices, test strips for glucometers and other supplies – items that are not typically covered on public health plans. Though the Canadian Diabetes Association’s method on tracking costs is limited – it cannot be gene Continue reading >>

Insulin: The Canadian Discovery That Has Saved Millions Of Lives

Insulin: The Canadian Discovery That Has Saved Millions Of Lives

Insulin forever changed what it meant to be diagnosed with diabetes. André Picard looks at one of medicine's most significant advances, and the researchers – two recognized with a Nobel Prize and two more overlooked – who chose to never make a profit from their miracle drug As part of the 150th anniversary of Canada's confederation, The Globe and Mail looks at the Canadians, products and discoveries that changed the world. When he was admitted to Toronto General Hospital in December, 1921, Leonard Thompson, a 14-year-old with juvenile diabetes, was barely clinging to life. He weighed just 65 pounds and despite a starvation diet of 450 calories a day – the only treatment available at the time – his blood glucose was dangerously high. On Jan. 22, 1922, Leonard was injected with an experimental treatment called isletin. The impact was negligible. But, 12 days later, researchers tried again. After the injection, Leonard's blood glucose fell dramatically, to 6.7 millimoles per litre from 28.9 mmol/L. He was discharged from hospital and began to eat more and gain weight. Within days, six other desperately ill Toronto children received a similar injection, with the same miraculous results. As long as they took an injection daily, their symptoms were largely kept in check. That drug, renamed insulin, forever changed the lives of people with diabetes. It is one of the great medical discoveries of all times, a Canadian innovation that has saved millions of lives. Before insulin, children with juvenile diabetes (now called Type 1) lived only 1.4 years on average after diagnosis. Adults fared only slightly better: One in five lived 10 years after diagnosis, but with severe complications such as blindness, kidney failure, stroke, heart attack and the necessity to amputate l Continue reading >>

The Canadian Remedy: How To Save Hundreds On Prescription Drugs

The Canadian Remedy: How To Save Hundreds On Prescription Drugs

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - In this story, we showed you it’s possible to save hundreds, even thousands a year by purchasing (in-person) your prescription medications in Canada. And it’s legal for you to bring them back to the U.S. So, you’re probably wondering; Is this right for me, and how do I do this? Let’s walk you through this step-by-step, thanks to WZZM 13 sister station WGRZ -- HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED: -Proper identification. It’s a must. You cannot get into Canada without either an enhanced Michigan driver’s license, or, a US passport, or, a Nexus pass. If you have your ID, then we move on to the homework section. WHAT'S YOUR RX COST? Buying medications in Canada is going to make the most sense if you fall into one of these categories: (1) Have no health insurance, (2) Have a healthcare plan with high deductibles or (3) Have healthcare insurance with no/little prescription drug coverage. Most people have some form of medical insurance. The key is your out-of-pocket cost to buy your medicines. Often, that’s printed right on your insurance identification card. If you have a high-deductible plan, you’ll need to check with your insurer if Canadian prescription purchases will count toward that deductible amount. If your prescription co-pay is $50 or higher, going across the border for medications may make sense. MAKE A LIST: Write down each medication, the amount (tablets, etc.) and the strength (usually in mg’s or ml’s, this is very important) and the amount each drug costs you (in co-pays). You will need that list for the next step, so keep it handy. SHOP BY PHONE: Right across the Niagara River from Buffalo, there are eight pharmacies. Most are in Fort Erie and are just minutes away once you cross the Peace Bridge. These pharmacies are a mix of small Continue reading >>

Prescription Drug Prices Have Americans Looking To Canada

Prescription Drug Prices Have Americans Looking To Canada

Unable to play video. Neither flash nor html5 is supported! Life-saving prescription drugs have undergone dramatic price hikes in the U.S. and it's causing some Americans to turn to Canada. Floridian Darby Leigh told the Toronto Star she was shocked when she discovered it would cost her US$600 for two EpiPens. Her husband, originally from Ontario, suggested she buy the medication from Canada, where she was able to get a two-pack for a third of the cost. An EpiPen can cost $300 in the U.S. (Photo: Getty) EpiPens can halt a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction and the drugs expire in just 18 months, making them a costly and regular occurrence for families. Unlike Canada, the U.S. doesn't regulate drug prices. So pharmaceutical companies can set prices as they please. “What we do have to protect against these rapid price increases is a regulatory body, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB). It regulates price increases … our prices can’t go astronomically high very quickly because there are regulatory restrictions on price growth," Steve Morgan, a health policy professor at the University of British Columbia, told the National Post. "… our prices can’t go astronomically high very quickly because there are regulatory restrictions on price growth." Diabetics are another group that has turned to Canada amid price hikes. In the U.S, the cost of insulin has dramatically increased. Prices for Humalog, a rapid-acting insulin, has grown 700 per cent since 1996, The Washington Post reported. For a diabetic, long periods without insulin can result in blindness, nerve problems, heart and kidney failure, and eventually death. In the U.S. a 10-milliliter vial of Humalog — roughly a one month supply — can cost over US$250 out of pocket, according to U Continue reading >>

Buying Insulin From Canada: Why It’s Cheaper?

Buying Insulin From Canada: Why It’s Cheaper?

More than 29 millions Americans live with diabetes. Just imagine, 9.1% of the US population needs insulin to survive the day. The price of treatment for diabetics is high. On average a diabetes patient pays 700-1000$ a year for their insulin, in the US, and the prices are rising every year. But in Canada the prices are a fraction of those in the United States, urging more and more Americans to buy their insulin from Canada. But why are the prices so different? The technology of insulin production in the USA is based on synthesis of human insulin analogues. It’s called recombinant DNA technology. The hormone is produced by special bacteria with human insulin gene inside. The Canadian insulin is mainly extracted from cattle pancreas. This method is older but cheaper, and the quality of the derived hormone is no different from the recombinated one. In the 1980s all of US pharmaceutical companies stopped producing animal derived insulin and moved to its human analogues. But the production costs of renewed hormone has increased ever since, and keeps on increasing to this day. For example, 5 pens of Lantus in the USA cost about $250. In Canada you’re able to buy 5 pens of Humalog, or its analogue, for just under the equivalent of 49 USD. That’s why ‘insulinic tourism’ has become so popular in the USA. When you need to refill your insulin reserves, you can plan a trip to Canada, but you do not necessarily have to travel abroad yourself. There is also the much easier method of ordering insulin from Canada online. The advantages ● Low prices. You can save more than $200 on each pack of insulin pens. ● Time saving. You don’t need to spend a few days on a trip. ● Utility. Your order will be delivered right to your front door, you don’t need to ride far to get i Continue reading >>

Millions Of Americans Find Drug Savings In Canada

Millions Of Americans Find Drug Savings In Canada

Millions of Americans whose insurance won't cover the cost of their prescription medications say they are finding relief over the border. Doctors diagnosed Larry Rehberger with diabetes decades ago. Since then, Rehberger says he has watched the price of insulin climb in recent years. "It's spooky," Rehberger said. Rehberger has Medicare, and it doesn't fully cover his insulin costs. His two-month supply goes for $1,508.94 in the US. That is more than Rehberger can afford. "I don't know how. I'm on social security. I'd never make it," Rehberger said. "That's 90-95% of your social security before you ever do anything." Larry started making the trip from Northern Washington to Canada to buy insulin about a year and a half ago when he heard about the savings. "It's diabetes," Rehberger said. "To stay alive, you have to spend the money." Rehberger isn't alone. The Centers for Disease Control estimates four to five million Americans fill their prescriptions internationally each year. An organization known as the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, which regulates online pharmacies in Canada, said their members had at least one million American customers to date in 2016 and of those, 23,000 live in Washington. It's no wonder why people are crossing the border. Unlike the US, Canada places restrictions on what drugmakers can charge, making most any drug available in the US, out of pocket, available in Canada for less. A study by the International Federation of Health Plans compared price differences. If found Cymbalta, which treats depression, was $84 less in Canada. Humira, for rheumatoid arthritis, was $296 less in Canada, and Gleevec, which treats cancer, was $5,073 less in Canada. "They are manufactured by the same pharmaceutical companies," said Rebecca Kelley, ex Continue reading >>

Verify: Insulin Cheaper In Canada

Verify: Insulin Cheaper In Canada

LOCAL NBC Nightly News reports that the price of insulin, which is used to treat Diabetes, has shot up more than 1,000 percent in the U.S. in the past 20 years. 2 On Your Side was able to confirm and verify that the injectable form of insulin in a pre-loaded pen is actually much, much less expensive in Canada than the U.S. Fort Erie, Canada - NBC Nightly News reports that the price of insulin, which is used to treat Diabetes, has shot up more than 1,000 percent in the U.S. in the past 20 years. In fact, it's estimated the U.S. now spends more than $322 billion dollars each year to treat the disease. It has reached the point where some families are now taking desperate measures to get the vital medication their children and loved ones need to survive. That includes turning to the black market as some parents rely on secret online groups to swap and trade the insulin that their insurance covers so that they can obtain the insulin for their kids. Back in February, a similar situation unfolded with another drug many people depend on for epileptic seizures. A Two On Your Side investigation with Reporter Steve Brown found that people here could get epipens much cheaper and legally at pharmacies in Canada. 2 On Your Side was able to confirm and verify that the same is true for insulin. We determined that the injectable form of insulin in a pre-loaded pen is actually much, much less expensive in Canada then in the U.S. That's crucial for some people with diabetes who need the insulin to control blood sugar levels And considering that about eleven percent of Western New York residents are diabetic, according to a local doctor at UBMD Internal Medicine, it's especially important. At the Remedy's RX drug store in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canadian pharmacist Gerard Longval says diabetic Continue reading >>

True Or False: You Can Buy Insulin From Canada

True Or False: You Can Buy Insulin From Canada

True or false: It's illegal for U.S. residents to order and receive prescription medication from pharmacies in Canada. Okay, how about this one - True or false: It's illegal for Canadian pharmacies to ship prescription medications to U.S. residents. The answer: False! Did you get all that? Allow me to explain... So, a couple of weeks ago the news broke that Google got into heaps of trouble with the FDA for allowing Canadian pharmacies to post their ads on American websites using their AdWords service. Of course, Google's $500 million settlement was more like a slap on the wrist considering how much the company is worth, but it drove home the point that Canadian pharmacies — and actually all international pharmacies — are not supposed to sell their goods to U.S. residents. It's against the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, which specifically states that it is illegal to import controlled substances and unapproved prescription drugs, whether the product is a foreign-made version of a U.S.-approved drug or the exact same drug that U.S. manufacturers send to Canada. So even if the factory makes the same insulin for both the Canadian market and the U.S., Canada cannot legally turn around and export the insulin to the U.S. Yep, it's true. What FDA Forbids Apparently the folks at FDA have positively convinced themselves that all drugs from outside the United States are evil. Well, sort of... In 2003, William Hubbard (then commissioner and later founder of the advocacy group Alliance for a strong FDA) testified before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness House Committee on Government Reform that: "In our experience, many drugs obtained from foreign sources that either purport to be or appear to be the same as U.S.-approved prescription drugs are, in fact, of unknown qu Continue reading >>

Millions Of Americans Find Drug Savings In Canada

Millions Of Americans Find Drug Savings In Canada

Millions of Americans whose insurance won't cover the cost of their prescription medications say they are finding relief over the border. Doctors diagnosed Larry Rehberger with diabetes decades ago. Since then, Rehberger says he has watched the price of insulin climb in recent years. "It's spooky," Rehberger said. Rehberger has Medicare, and it doesn't fully cover his insulin costs. His two-month supply goes for $1,508.94 in the US. That is more than Rehberger can afford. "I don't know how. I'm on social security. I'd never make it," Rehberger said. "That's 90-95% of your social security before you ever do anything." Larry started making the trip from Northern Washington to Canada to buy insulin about a year and a half ago when he heard about the savings. "It's diabetes," Rehberger said. "To stay alive, you have to spend the money." Rehberger isn't alone. The Centers for Disease Control estimates four to five million Americans fill their prescriptions internationally each year. An organization known as the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, which regulates online pharmacies in Canada, said their members had at least one million American customers to date in 2016 and of those, 23,000 live in Washington. It's no wonder why people are crossing the border. Unlike the US, Canada places restrictions on what drugmakers can charge, making most any drug available in the US, out of pocket, available in Canada for less. A study by the International Federation of Health Plans compared price differences. If found Cymbalta, which treats depression, was $84 less in Canada. Humira, for rheumatoid arthritis, was $296 less in Canada, and Gleevec, which treats cancer, was $5,073 less in Canada. "They are manufactured by the same pharmaceutical companies," said Rebecca Kelley, ex Continue reading >>

This Is Why Canada Has The Second-highest Medication Costs In The World

This Is Why Canada Has The Second-highest Medication Costs In The World

Madonna Broderick spent 23 years living on the streets of Toronto, struggling with addiction. “I’ve been clean 15 years but my health has caught up with me,” says the 59-year-old. She now has many chronic illnesses – including diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and fibromyalgia. And, like many low-income Canadians, she has had a tough time paying for her multiple medications. Broderick receives government disability payments of about $600 a month for basic needs and coverage for her 10 regular medications and insulin, which would otherwise soak up more than half her monthly allowance. But being prescribed a medication that’s not covered causes considerable financial stress. “Last year I needed an additional medication. It was $80 a month, and it was the difference between me being comfortable and uncomfortable. But I couldn’t afford it. … Anything extra like that is my grocery money,” she said. Broderick’s dilemma throws the spotlight on a dirty little secret: Canadian medications prices are the second highest globally and we pay far too much for generic drugs. It is not uncommon for patients like Broderick, with complex health issues, to end up hundreds of dollars a month out of pocket because of their prescriptions. Many Canadians stop taking the drugs they need because they can’t afford them. More than one in 10 don’t fill a prescription because of cost, says a 2012 Canadian Medical Association Journal study. South of the border, price increases of medications such as the EpiPen continue to make headlines. Two-thirds of Americans surveyed in a September Kaiser health poll favoured importing drugs from Canada because of rising prices. But they might not realize Canada is not much better than the U.S. when it comes to drug co Continue reading >>

Why Is Insulin So Expensive In The U.s.?

Why Is Insulin So Expensive In The U.s.?

Dr. Jeremy Greene sees a lot of patients with diabetes that's out of control. In fact, he says, sometimes their blood sugar is "so high that you can't even record the number on their glucometer." Greene, a professor of medicine and history of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, started asking patients at his clinic in Baltimore why they had so much trouble keeping their blood sugar stable. He was shocked by their answer: the high cost of insulin. Greene decided to call some local pharmacies, to ask about low-cost options. He was told no such options existed. "Only then did I realize there is no such thing as generic insulin in the United States in the year 2015," he says. Greene wondered why that was the case. Why was a medicine more than 90 years old so expensive? He started looking into the history of insulin, and has published a paper about his findings in this week's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The story of insulin, it turns out, starts back in the late 1800s. That's when scientists discovered a link between diabetes and damaged cells in the pancreas — cells that produce insulin. In the early 1920s, researchers in Toronto extracted insulin from cattle pancreases and gave it to people who had diabetes, as part of a clinical trial. The first patient was a 14-year-old boy, who made a dramatic recovery. Most others recovered as well. Soon, insulin from pigs and cattle was being produced and sold on a massive scale around the world. But for some, the early forms of the medicine weren't ideal. Many people required multiple injections every day, and some developed minor allergic reactions. Over the next few decades, scientists figured out how to produce higher-quality insulin, Greene says. They made the drug purer, so recipients had fewer bad reaction Continue reading >>

Cost Of Self-monitoring Of Blood Glucose In Canada Among Patients On An Insulin Regimen For Diabetes

Cost Of Self-monitoring Of Blood Glucose In Canada Among Patients On An Insulin Regimen For Diabetes

Go to: For both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, an essential component of ongoing clinical and self-care management of diabetes is sufficient and accurate glycemic control, which is critical in preventing or postponing complications resulting from diabetes, such as heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, and peripheral vascular disease [1, 2]. The most common means for measuring glycemic control is by monitoring glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), which gives an average of the blood glucose over 3 months. A limitation of this method is that measuring HbA1c levels does not tell patients what their blood glucose levels are on a regular, daily basis. Self-monitoring by testing for urinary glucose is one method of checking if blood glucose is high, but the limitation of this test is that it lacks the proven accuracy of other methods. A more precise reading can be captured by blood testing, which is performed by pricking the skin to obtain a drop of blood, placing that sample on a testing strip, and gauging the result with a discrete meter. This method, called self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), is quite flexible and convenient in that it can be done at various points throughout the day, prior to or following meals, or before or after physical activity, allowing patients to be constantly informed of their insulin levels [2]. SMBG in patients with diabetes who use insulin may contribute to improved glycemic control and reduced hypoglycemia by allowing self-adjustments of insulin dose to be made based on meter readings. SMBG is recognized as a core component of effective diabetes self-management for insulin users throughout the world by major international organizations such as the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) [3–6]. SMBG Continue reading >>

Buying Insulin In Canada Without A Prescription (btc)

Buying Insulin In Canada Without A Prescription (btc)

With insulin prices skyrocketing, no wonder the diabetic community is taking to social media to network and share their experiences as they swap tips and tricks not only for moral support, but also financial. This month, we received an interesting consumer comment via our Facebook page asking if we knew that Americans are driving to Canada to buy insulin without a prescription. Well, no. As our primary focus is mail-order pharmacy, it wasn’t on our radar. Nevertheless, it sparked our interest and we’d like to share our findings with the PharmacyChecker community. After calling 20 pharmacies across Canada (specifically in the following cities: Québec City, Toronto, Alberta, Victoria, Winnipeg and Regina) the answer is clear: Americans can obtain insulin without a prescription in Canada. All pharmacists that I called reported—rather matter-of-factly—that you do not need a prescription for any insulin product, which would include Lantus Solostar, Humalog and Levemir. We specifically talked about Lantus Solostar, a popular, long-acting insulin. The price in Canada for a three-month supply of Lantus Solostar (3 ml) is currently around $447.00 while the average retail price in the U.S. is a staggering $1,160.39. Apparently, they practice what they preach: all patients—including Americans—do not need a prescription to obtain insulin in Canada. While a prescription is not needed, the drugs are available only from the pharmacist and must be retained within an area of the pharmacy where there is no public access and no opportunity for patient self-selection (also known in the U.S. as Behind the Counter (BTC). There are some important nuances about insulin sales in Canada that might interest you. To start, insulin is not on the Health Canada Prescription Drug List. He Continue reading >>

How To Get Insulin At A Cheaper Price

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 >>

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