Humalog shortage?

Is anyone aware of a sudden Humalog shortage? I am located in Massachusetts, and none of the pharmacies within an hours drive have it in stock…they all tell me that it’s on “perpetual backorder”…they order it, then the date it’s supposed to arrive gets pushed back, and back again, and they never receive it. I just called my endocrinologist’s office and they didn’t seem to feel any sense of urgency…the front desk said “yep, it’s a shortage!” And they left a message for my doctor to “see what he wants to do.” They told me that there’s a “zero level” shortage for the past month! As in, apparently no one can order it anywhere! I’m surprised I haven’t heard about this yet…has anyone else encountered this issue? Were you able to get it somehow? FWIW, I use the vials w/my insulin pump.

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I am also in Massachusetts but buy all my Humalog by mail from Canada. So much better, faster, and cheaper and I don’t believe there is any shortage at this time.

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I live in Massachusetts and just picked up a Humalog prescription from Walgreens yesterday. I get it under Medicare Part B which may make a difference.

Many people find Novolog to be a close substitute. Getting a trial prescription for that is certainly better than running out.

Good luck,



Generic Humalog? They tried to give it to me the other day but I’m allergic. My HMO keeps trying to take my Novolog.
Novolog may be the same for you , but there’s still a bit of difference in composition.

I don’t use generic Humalog. I use the same prescription Humalog that I have been using for decades. I am covered under Part D but buying it direct was always way less that the insurance premiums with copays. Maybe now that is or about to be maxed out at $35/month under Medicare, I may look at getting it in the US again.

Update: my insurance will not cover Novolog OR the “generic” brand of Humalog. They will not cover it even with a prior authorization. My doctor says that there is no shortage of Humalog Kwikpens, but that I cannot use those for my pump…Express Scripts mail order pharmacy thinks they do have the vials in stock, so I am waiting for a new prescription to be sent there and hopefully they can mail it quickly…


Isn’t it fun? Hope you get the supplies you need!

Novolog is not the same for some people. It works slower on me. I’ve tried it a few times and just don’t like it as well.

@hollymateluber You can use Humalog Kwikpens for your pump. You just use the syringe to draw it out of the pen. I do it every time I fill up my Omnipod pod as I only use Humalog pens. The Omnipod comes with a thicker syringe, but a 6mm regular syringe works too.

When my insurance decided not to cover Humalog years ago I was required to try Novolog. All I had to do was try it and say it didn’t work and the doctor wrote a letter of necessity and got it covered. It wasn’t on the regular formulary so I had to pay a higher price for it as a premium prescription. I think my supply had been $40 for 3 months and it became $100 for 3 months.

Insurance companies bargain with suppliers for price. Mine used to flip back and forth between Novolog and Humalog depending who they got the better deal with. (But you could still get special exemptions of necessity at a higher price) Part of a new possible problem is with the new law of only $35 a month for your supply, if they bargained with Novolog (or?) to get a better price than Humalog, then your insurance company will not want to supply Humalog because they would then have to supply it at the $35 still.

A little worrisome for the future as right now Medicare is liberal with what they cover, but with the possibility of bargaining it potentially means we won’t have access to all the choices depending who they bargain with just like some of the insurance companies. And Medicare doesn’t strike me as accepting an exemption of necessity as easy.

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I just picked up 6 vials (90 day supply) from Walgreens this morning. When I placed my refill order I got an email saying that it was partially filled and I would be notified when the rest comes in, but that happens every month. I get an email or text saying it’s out of stock or partially filled and then a day or two later I get another saying it’s ready to pick up.

I get my insulin from CVS Caremark, and I received a new shipment of humalog just two weeks ago without any problems.

I have regular Medicare plus a supplement so my diabetes supplies come under Part B from my local pharmacy. I ordered Humalog a few weeks ago and keep getting a recorded message from Walgreens that they don’t have it in stock and expect a supply in a few days. When I was on Medicare Advantage, all my supplies including insulin came from mail order OptumRX and I never encountered this problem. Maybe there is a shortage. If so, that is very unsettling since I use it in my pump.

Medicare will not cover my test strips. I have spoken with several people at Medicare and even had a three way conversation with the rep, myself, and Walgreens. They cover most brands except for the one that communicates with my pump. So now I’m stuck with a different brand strips and having to manually code it into my pump. Come November I’m supposedly eligible for a new pump and I will look into getting a cgm, if Medicare will even cover that.

@Patticakes Medicare does cover a Cgm. Bolus insulin use, a pump or even just being a type 1 pretty much qualifies you. But once you get a CGM, you will not get any test strips. It’s one or the other. That’s ridiculous of course because we have to calibrate and check the CGM.

If you have gotten a pump while on Medicare you shouldn’t have an issue. But if you got your pump before Medicare they might make you show proof of being a type 1 or someone that doesn’t make a normal amount of insulin by a C-peptide test. If you have a past antibodies or C-peptide test, I believe they accept that. An Omnipod because it’s a patch pump doesn’t have that requirement as it doesn’t fall under the regular pump category.

BTW Why don’tyou get a CGM now? Your strips already aren’t being covered and it will save your use of strips and give your fingers a break. You still need to use some strips. But CGM’s are really nice to see what your sugars are doing more.

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I had the opposite, humalog was slower for me than novolog!

Thanks for the info, Marie. Yes, I have gotten a pump under Medicare and had to go through testing and provide documentation from my doctor, even though I’ve had type 1 for 30 years. I guess they don’t know that my pancreas is not about to suddenly produce insulin after all this time. I’ve never thought about getting a CGM to go with my current pump. But I did get strips today, just not the brand that talks to my pump. I guess it’s my resistance to change. I’ve read about the challenges of CGMs and getting them to work properly, plus I couldn’t imagine having two things connected to my body and trying to coordinate all of them to work within a system. It all seems overwhelming. Since I have only 6 months remaining in order to qualify for a new pump, I think I’ll just get the entire system then and deal with the adjustment. I had no idea they wouldn’t provide test strips but I guess I can afford a small quantity to calibrate my CGM.

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Here in New Zealand I’ve not had problems finding Humalog. (We moved here from the USA last July)

In case anyone is curious, you can buy a standard bottle of human synthetic insulin (same size/concentrations as in the US- Humalog and Novolog) for about $55 NZD ($35 USD).

But if you have a prescription from a Kiwi doctor, every prescription costs only $5 (or free, depending on the pharmacy you go to… the big discount pharmacies waive the $5 fee). If you live here, that covers a 90 day supply. That $5/free copay even covers my insulin pump supplies (cartridges and tubing).

A self-funded (cash pay) visit to a kiwi doc costs anywhere from $75 - $130 NZD ($46-$80 USD).

I’m on the public health system so it costs $58 to see my GP, which seems a bit expensive but any services he refers me out to (labs/endocrinologist/ophthalmologist, etc.) are completely free. I recently had a CT scan and you know those scary waiting lists they tell you about in the US to scare you? They took 3 weeks to see me, and the scan was completely free.

If you want, you can buy private health insurance and then you don’t have to wait (for my family of 3, a good policy costs anywhere from $3000-$6000/NZD year-- $1,900-$3,760 USD) For example I could see a a private endocrinologist, or that CT scan I got at the public hospital I could have had done at a private radiology clinic on the same day, no appointment needed, and would be covered 100%. Without private health insurance, I still could have self-paid for that CT scan, and it would have been $500 NZD ($310 USD).

It’s been a bit bumpy figuring things out here, but overall I really like how the system is working for me.


No shortage of either Humalog or NovoRapid in Canada right now. There is, however, a nation-wide shortage of Nitro spray, which in turn has caused a shortage of sublingual nitro pills :see_no_evil::scream:

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I received 8 vials from Optum mail order pharmacy less than 2 weeks ago.

I’ve read where people use a syringe to draw the insulin out of the pen cartridges to then use in a pump cartridge. Or is the Kwickpen sealed in a way you can’t access the insulin.

There is no “generic Humalog”. It’s marketing BS.

The FDA has not approved any generics for Humalog or Novolog. It approved both under their generic chemical names. The companies can choose how they are marketed, so long as they don’t misdescribe them.

In response to Novo Nordisk making Novolog available through Wamart co-branded for under $70/vial, Lilly now reluctantly sells Humalog under its generic chemical name “white boxed” for a different price. Lilly and Novo continues to cooperate with pharmacy management companies and insurance companies by providing them with an incentive to sell the higher markup versions for a greater dollar kickback per unit sale.

It looks like the insurers may be reacting to the new scrutiny and lawsuits by the states by spinning off new companies to try to limit their liability. Humana recently changed its mail order pharmacy operation to “Centerwell”, wholly owned by Humana. I wonder if it has anything to do with Walmart trying to acquire them.