Humalog is expensive! Oh, really? :-/

Today wasn't a good day for me personally. I got hit with a rejection that hurt.

After that, I had to motivate to go to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription for medication I have to take. I also just order insulin when I order this other stuff.

Anyway, my insurance pays most but I have to pay for 25% of the cost. With four bottles of Humalog at $843.00 total, I pay for $150 of that.

It's not pretty but it is what it is. I need it to live and thank goodness that I can afford it.

The pharmacist is ringing me up, looks at the price and says "Humalog is expensive!" I just look at him like "what the hell?"

It was just insensitive. I don't think I'll complain, but really? You're a pharmacist. This is your job to dispense medication and do so, hopefully, in a way that's sensitive to the people you serve. I live with this damn disease everyday, and I've been uninsured before too. I KNOW Humalog as well as everything else that goes with insulin dependent diabetes is expensive. I try to stay on top of it because being hospitalized is also expensive and death, well, that's the worst.

I understand that he wasn't trying to offend me, but my God, really?

Ridiculous, I remember back in the 90's when Humalog was $25 a vial.

Maybe he was attempting to be empathetic.

You're right. I'm not sure, and I don't want to throw the guy under the bus because my perception of it is what's going on here.

I just know it hit me in a way where I was like "WTF?" I know he didn't mean it to be snarky or rude.

I didn't get empathetic off of him. It sounded more like shock to me.

Since the costs of all of this is something I deal with all the time, I wasn't shocked. In fact, earlier this week I called my insurance company and had them walk me through how much I'd have to pay for my insulin (my insurance switched prescription providers this year.) Him being shocked just hit me hard because I'm just fatigued having to worry about the cost of my diabetes.

Maybe it was insensitive. But if he had suggested that there might be other sources that were cheaper, you would have thought he was a good man looking out for you. My insurance provides mail order service, a vial of humalog is $133, the total cost is $300 less.

What really gets my gall is doctors who prescribe top tier medications when a generic will do. I am doing battle with one doctor who prescried a just released mediation, $200/month. I said I would pass. She then found me another, she said she checked with the insurance company and it was "covered." Turns out it is "covered" is are almost every medication, but it still costs $200/month.

I don't remember those days as I wasn't on the pump then. I got on the pump when I lived abroad in a country with socialized medicine, so I knew when I came back home I'd have to adjust to the US system. I never know Humalog was once $25 a vial. It seems criminal that now four vials from Walgreens is more than $850. I'm thinking there has to be inflation going on because Lilly wants to get money from insurance companies for this.

bsc, I left a doctor's practice because he DEMANDED that all of his patients take no generic drugs. NOT ONE. I even asked his if that meant I could take the cheap asprin but had to by bayer instead. That was going to make the cost of my medications nearly triple. I told the man, NO! He basically read me the same speech my father had when I was 13. If you are part of my practice you will abide by my rules. When I turned 18 I left my father's house (as many of us did) and I did the same with this doctor.

I am sorry you had such a lousy day. Hope things are improving.

I looked online some for the price of Humalog and what you paid seems high. I woouls look into a mail order pharmacy or check at WalMart. I get all my pumpp supplies from CCS and they a;so fill insulin scrips. Liberty is another one.

I also agree that generics work the same. A generic drug uses the formula from the original drug once the drug patent expires. There is no reason not to use a generic, and if the doc says no, he is problem working with the drug companies. If your endo won't write generics, talk to your PCP.

Good luck!

I don't think the pharmacist was insensitive, just an honest observation. It's usually me who is complaining to the pharmacist how expensive everything is !

I recently switched to novolog, and now pay less than I paid for humalog, due to my insurance company making novolog the preferred brand.

You might want to check if your insurance has lower cost by brand. I've seen posts from several others who said their insurance also recently made novolog as preferred / lower cost.

Hmmmm, that's interesting. Maybe Novolog is preferred. I'll check.

I also think, yep, my pharmacist is used to people complaining about price. I just don't because all the kvetching in the world doesn't change things. I just pay it and don't want to go on and on about it. I'd rather have a positive, even if expensive, transaction and leave smiling. :)

Different strokes for different folks.

I would have appreciated a cheaper solution, for sure, but I also said at the end that I know he was trying to offend me. :)

I just think non-diabetics sometimes don't stop and think. We live with this everyday. I remember when I was uninsured and I'd flip out if I had to use more than one strip to get a blood glucose reading because I had to pay out of pocket for test strips. That feeling still lingers with with me in some ways when it happens now.

I know this technology isn't cheap to discover and I understand that these companies need to make a profit to keep discovering more drugs and processes that help us. However, the cost is something I don't want to talk about. If he has solutions, great. But I really don't want to be reminded about how expensive something is just to b$^#h about it. That's just going to make me upset and I already was upset.

Offer me a solution and I'm all for it. In fact, at my pharmacy another pharmacist did exactly that. They have a program where if you get a 90-day supply of generics you save a ton of money. For the other two meds I take, my doc was already writing generic prescriptions. That pharmacist noticed that I could save money by joining their program. I did and THAT was helpful.

Thanks. Maybe Novolog is an option, but there isn't generic insulin. My doctor already writes me prescriptions for generic drugs for the other two things I take. My insurance goes specifically through one prescription provider, so I get what I get when it comes to that unfortunately.

There is enormous inflation going on. When I lived in Guatemala I bought insulin pens over the counter. I paid about $13 per pen. Figuring a pen as containing about 1/3 of a vial that would equal around $40 a vial - a lot less than $212!

Yeah, when I lived abroad, I paid out of pocket for my supplies, but it was socialized medicine so I was insured. That basically meant that I had access to medical care in a university hospital at a fraction of the cost it would be for me in the USA.

Strips cost me half of what I'd pay in the USA. Pharmaceutical companies index their prices based on the country. I also got my Humalog directly from the hospital pharmacy. When I moved back, I made sure to buy a years worth of supplies because I knew it would take me roughly a year to get back into the system here.

I can see how that might set one off. For me it would have a lot to do with my mood. On a good day I would think he was being sympathic. On a average day I would think he's just making an observation. On a not so good day I would think him to be sarcastic. But on a really bad day I would want to grab him by the throat and choke the life out of him.

Luckily I very very rarely have really bad days and have learned to control myself when I do. Thank God for good and average days where I spend the majority of my time these days.

Gary s

Yeah, that's pretty much it.

I knew I was in a bad mood because I was disappointed. I wanted to pick up my medication and go. It wasn't a good day for him to point out what's obvious to me.

When I was diagnosed, I was very unfamiliar with medical insurance. My doctor was writing prescriptions for insulin one month at at time. It was costing 100.00 a month for novolog and lantus, one vial of each. This went on for about six months. I blew thru my saving account pretty quick for that and all the other stuff I was paying for out of my pocket. When I was pretty much drained, I asked the pharmacist if there was anything that could be done, she told me if the doctor would prescribe for 3 months instead of 1 month, it would cost the same. Just to add a little more, I was buying test strips, syringes, alcohol pads too. Finally someone told me about a mail order place that provided all of those things at no cost to me, but the doctor again had to write script for 3 months supply. It helped a lot. To me it was really irritating that this info wasn't provided up front. Sometimes it is not just asking, but asking the right questions.

You might be surprised... often the smaller pharmacies have better prices compared to the mega-chains for the name brand stuff, but they may not have the special promotions (i.e. "$4 prescription generics") on the popular generic stuff the way the mega-chains have gone.

I remember when I was first in college and had to buy insulin out of my pocket for the first time. $7 for a vial of Lily Iletin I (Beef Pork) Regular.

The reason that Humalog & Novolog are so expensive is b/c both companies who make them still hold the patents for the insulins. I think for a few more years. Lilly = Humalog and Novo nordisk=Novolog. There is currently NO generic for these insulins. What people can buy at Wal-Mart is NPH, R, and 70/30. These are made by ( I think, Novo Nordisk) under the ReLion Label of Walmart.

I don't think you're forced to go through the prescription provider. If they are jacking up the prices by doubling prices and then allowing you to take off 25%... you are still paying more than you have to. That's a racket.

I just checked street prices in my area at three different pharmacies, for the standard 1000 unit vial of U-100 Humalog:

Giant Pharmacy (grocery store pharmacy): $132.97
Foers Pharmacy (small local chain): $133.85
CVS Pharmacy (mega chain): $135.68

I also note that Apidra out of pocket is about $95 a vial. I understand it to be similar in action to humalog and novolog but seems to be much cheaper.

If you are throwing out half-empty vials every month because your doses are small, you might want to get the smaller 300 unit vials commonly used with pens instead.