If anyone has done a cost comparison of Tresiba/Novolog compared to various insulin pumps that would be really, really helpful.
For example, at simple retail costs, using Walmart Relion test strips Walmart Relion/Novolin R insulin, and Animas reservoirs and infusion sets, the annual cost is about $3,600 to $4,000 per year.
Tresiba retails for about $509 per 300 units compared to a low cost of $25 for 1,000 units of U-100 Relion/Novolin or $280 for 1,000 units of U-100 Novolog. Since Novo Nordisk suggests “adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes already on insulin therapy, start Tresiba® at the same unit dose as the total daily long- or intermediate-acting insulin unit dose” simple math yields a cost for Tresiba of $1.70/unit, Relion/Novolin of $.03/unit, and Novolog of $.28/unit.
Using myself as an example, my average daily insulin use with a pump (including waste from infusion tubing and priming) is about 65 units/day or 23,725 units/year; my average daily total for meal boluses is about 70% of that total or about 46 units/day, 16,790 units/year. Hence, using a pump the approximate retail cost of Novolog would be $6,643 compared to about $712 for Relion/Novolin. Tresiba would avoid infusion set and priming waste that averages out to 10 units/day or 3,650 units per year; Tresiba would, however, still require use of Novolog or Relion/Novolin before meals and to treat hyperglycemia. Switching to Tresiba would require about 6,935 units at a cost of $11,790 per year PLUS 13,140 units of Novolog at $3,680 per year or Relion/Novolin at $394 per year – assuming traditional syringes, not insulin pens.
In other words, based on estimated retail costs, using Tresiba could cost me between $12,184 and $15,470 compared to pump costs of $3,600 to $4,000 per year.
This kind of cost analysis may yield yawns and responses of “so what!” because insurance coverage may reduce these costs for the T1D by 50% to 80% – but insurance actuaries look at these costs to make coverage determinations, including quantity limits.
If Tresiba is so wonderful, how is Novo Nordisk helping patients answer these cost versus benefits questions? What additional benefits and cost savings need to be considered?