Affordable Insulin?

I use Humalog Kwikpens and Lantus Solostar…together, they cost me around $200 and prices keep raising every time I fill my Rx. Anyone know of a more affordable insulin that does the same as these two that I should take to my doctor about? Thank you!

Novo Nordisk offers a copay discount card. It won’t work with any government insurance (Medicare, Medicaid, military/govt employee), & only in the US.

https://www.novolog.com/copay-register.html

Sanofi also has a copay card for Lantus.

1 Like

TuDiabetes does maintain a list of patient resources.

Another possibility is to adopt one of the just released insulin products which have teasers available such as for for Humalog U-200 or Toujeo which is U-300 Lantus. As @tiaE mentions above you cannot qualify for these discounts if you are being covered by federal or state funding.

1 Like

This is kind of a side issue, but has anyone ever pencilled it out to see whether there is any significant difference in cost between preloaded pens and old fashioned vials, due to the difference in packaging? Just curious.

Is $200 your copay ? or you just buy them with out insurance and they cost $200 in total? How many Kwikpens do you use per month? How many solostars do you use?

I’m a 4th year pharmacy student and can assure you she is likely buying them with insurance, as the cash price associated with both of those is roughly $450-550 per box of 5 pens. “Generic” lantus is scheduled for market this december, but pricing will likely still be high.

Have you checked your insurance deductible? Most insurance companies have a deductible they want to patient to pay for before they will kick in their coverage. That leaves most patients feeling like they’re paying cash price and it’s definitely not fun. Do you know if your insurance has a preferred insulin they’ll cover more? It may also be wise to look into the newer insulins (Tresiba, Toujeo) as they have quite hefty manufacturer discount programs. Lantus is the cornerstone of long-acting insulins, and Sanofi has no need to provide a massive discount card (I think it’s currently like 70-100 off copay) whereas the new insulins need advertising and exposure to gain a share of the market.

$200 is what I have to pay after my insurance has covered what it will cover. I use about 2 pens per month, on average. About 1 solostar. :slight_smile:

Really the only insulins that I consider affordable are the generic R and NPH that you can get at Walmart for $25/vial cash without a prescription… They are considered vastly inferior to modern analogs, but they’ll keep you alive.

Thought so … and as for your question “Anyone know of a more affordable insulin that does the same as these two that I should take to my doctor about?”

You can call insurance / or look up your plan and see which tier these are in… May be Humalog and Lantus are tier 3 and so you have more co pay…

and novolog may be preferred and in tier 2 - so may be cheaper.

Or your insurance plan may be not that good enough ( lower premiums ) so you have higher deductibles and so higher co pays…

Gone are the days to take whats best for you… you just go by what the insurance thinks is good to you.

Alternatively , you can rotate through the offers

Tresiba - 24 ,months $15 co pay - probably better than Lantus

diabetics can still buy R and NPH ?!

they dont need prescription… so any one can buy them…hardcore gym rats might even be buying them

1 Like

A further wrinkle is that not every insulin works well for every person. I know two people who have fairly violent allergic reactions to Humalog and therefore can’t use it. For that matter, neither can I, though for a different reason.

Complicating factors like those make an already tangled picture even more so.

Thanks for all the info, everyone!! :smiley:

Tresiba has a discount program. And Apidra used to; not sure if they still have. Both from different companies so you could probably take advantage of both discounts. And Tresiba is a much better insulin than Lantus lasts 24 hours and you can give it within 7 hours (so they say) day to day. A few hours does not matter; seven seems to. And, although it’s difficult to get, Afrezza, the inhalable insulin, if you can get it covered by your insurance, you will also only have to pay $30 copay per month. So with Tresiba and Afrezza that’s $70 a month copay and possibly Apidra (which is an injectable) still has the $30 copay with the card. Apidra also is about an hour faster than Humalog or Novolog for most people.

1 Like

Actually they claim it lasts 42 hours… I don’t think that in reality that means that you can take it every other day, but I think it realistically means that if you miss a dose once in a while it’s not a terrible emergency

1 Like

I don’t know if it’s relevant to the US, but cartridges are somewhat cheaper than prefilled pens in Japan. As far as Pen vs. Vial, I’m not sure, but I used vials in the US. Japan does not dispense syringes, so vials are out of the question here.

My experience with vials was that no matter how much I was taking, I would eventually have to toss the vial by the time there was 1/3 left in it- especially in the summer. I would either have to put up with high blood sugar and crashing lows, or opening a new vial.

I guess there’s a positive and negative to both, cost of vials vs. pens vs. cartridges when they’re available.

If I had to choose between vials or pens, and had a busy lifestyle, I’d choose pens over vials. Case and point, I’m on the tail end of my lantus cartridge and I think it’s bad. If it is indeed bad, It would have gone bad with 100ui left. If it were a vial, there would be 800ui left (and that has happened to me before).

Not sure if others share my experience, but since switching to pens, I feel like I’m wasting much less insulin.

Interesting perspective. I can use a vial until it’s nearly empty, but I keep the insulin refrigerated all the time. Makes a difference, I expect.

Check with Sanofi (Lantus, Apidra and Tougeo) for their discount card and for those w/o pharmacy insurance coverage and low income ask about no cost insulin.
The older Humulin or Novolin can be purchased at WalMart for $25 per vial - they redo contracts so check which one is $25 vs $100.