Generics And Biosimilars Are Bringing Down The Overall Price Of Insulins
Since 2019, the overall retail price of insulins has declined by nearly 6%. Most of this decline can be attributed to the recent approval of generics, and the biosimilar counterparts that have been on the market.
At present, retail prices for generic insulin lispro and insulin aspart are about half that of their brand-name counterparts, Humalog and Novolog, respectively. The same goes for the generic mixed insulins, insulin lispro 75/25 and insulin aspart 70/30, compared to Humalog 75/25 and Novolog 70/30, respectively.
Generics have been instrumental in bringing down costs for some patients. Instead of paying a retail price of over $140 for a brand-name Humalog KwikPen, patients can now pay about $60 for a generic insulin lispro KwikPen. Similar savings can be found for the other brand and generic alternatives.
, a long-acting insulin approved in 2016, is the follow-on to Lantus, and , a rapid-acting insulin approved in 2017, is the follow-on to Humalog. Now, the average retail price per insulin unit for Basaglar is $0.27, while Lantus is $0.34. Similarly, Admelog has a price per unit of $0.28, while Humalog has a unit price of $0.44.
New Product Features Can Come With A High Price Tag
and both contain a long-acting insulin and another non-insulin diabetes medication. Xultophy is a mix of insulin degludec plus liraglutide , and Soliqua is a mix of insulin glargine plus lixisenatide . Average retail prices for Soliqua and Xultophy are more than double the price of cheaper alternatives like Basaglar and Tresiba, which have the same exact kind of insulins.
Fiasp contains insulin aspart, the same insulin in Novolog, but it also has vitamin B3. This added ingredient may speed up insulin absorption, but it doesnt necessarily make Fiasp more effective than Novolog at lowering blood sugar. Interestingly, the retail prices for Fiasp and Novolog are about the same on a per insulin unit basis.
Then theres , an ultra-long-acting insulin that stays active for up to 42 hours. For this unique property, its average retail price is about $624.76 for a carton of 5 KwikPens .
Along with these new formulations, insulin manufacturers have also started offering their insulins at higher concentrations to make them more convenient for people who need more insulin than average. Humulin R, Humalog, and Tresiba all come in higher-concentration versions, and is a higher-concentration version of Lantus. At first glance, their prices may seem high, but they actually go for the same per unit retail price as their lower-concentration counterparts.
Getting An Insulin Pump
In order to get an insulin pump, you will have to get a doctors prescription first. However, according to the Diabetes Self-Management website, not many doctors are familiar with insulin pump, and that out of the 25,000 doctors in the United States, only 2,000 of them would prescribe pumps.
According to the same website, the average insulin pump price, is expensive and some patients cannot afford it, not without the help of their insurance coverage. A single pump cost about $5,500 dollars already, while the supplies cost about $100 monthly. Good thing if the patient has an insurance coverage because the insurance will generally cover for the pump and supply of up to 80% of the cost of diabetic pump, while some insurance companies would cover for all of the cost including the pump and supplies.
As for Medicare, it only covers for the cost of diabetic pump of people with Type 1 diabetes back in the year 2000, but when 2002 came, they were able to cover for the people with Type 2 diabetes also, provided they have a low-normal C-peptide levels.
Recommended Reading: Low Blood Sugar At Night Without Diabetes
Price Of Insulin Pump
If the average insulin pump price is a shocker to take in, what you can do is to weigh some considerations. If you take the diabetes therapy in oral route, a doctors prescribed glipizide may cost you about $32 dollars a month and a maximum dose of metformin is $55. Then add in the pioglitazone for $125 dollars a month. If you add up all the cost, you will realize that its still cost effective to take one dose of the $100 dollar a month, supply of diabetic medicine as compared with all the rest for the pills calculated. Knowing how much does insulin pump costs, can provide you a more informed choice for a cost- effective medication.
How Insulin Pump Works?
Now that you know the average insulin pump price, you will also have to understand how insulin pumps work. What insulin pumps does is that they deliver a rapid acting insulin into your body, using the aid of a catheter placed under the skin. It works for 24 hours a day and is separated into three: the basal rates, the bolus doses and the correction dosses also known as the supplemental doses.
This insulin is being programed on different times of the day, and night. A patient who is eating will have to use the buttons on the insulin pump to give him relief and let the bolus help him cover the carbs in his meal or snack. If a patient is experiencing a high glucose level, all he will need to so is to give himself a correction dose to regulate the insulin level in the body.
The Role Of Insurance
The ADAs Insulin Access and Affordability Working Group report found that nearly half of Americans have employer-sponsored health insurance. About 20% are insured through Medicaid, and 14% are insured through Medicare. Approximately 7% of Americans purchase health insurance on their owneither directly from an insurer or through a health insurance exchange. About 9% of Americans remain uninsured.
Diabetes is considered a pre-existing condition. According to research published in Diabetes Care, an estimated 1.9 million uninsured people with diabetes gained insurance coverage after the Affordable Care Act went into effect. More than half of those who gained insurance were low-income.
Still, having insurance doesn’t mean insulin is affordable. Insured patients will often pay a copay or a percentage, rather than the list price, for their insulin. Redmond says that cost could range from $30 to $50.
In cases of high-deductible health plans, patients have to pay the list price for their insulin until their deductible is met, which often translates to thousands of dollars out of pocket. Many patients just have a problem paying that much, says Redmond.
Also Check: I Need Help With My Diabetes
What Is A Reasonable Price For Insulin
With an active, competitive biosimilar market, this study estimated a reasonable price for analog insulins to be between $78-130 USD per person per year . Regular and NPH was even lower between $48-72 USD per year. Yearly costs are based on an average dosage of 40 units per day .
The numbers proposed take into account not only manufacturing costs, but many of the other variables involved in production including the cost of active pharmaceutical ingredients, cost of other ingredients, cost of vials, cost of transportation, operating expenses and the added cost of bringing a new biosimilar to market. These numbers are competitive but profitable to manufacturers based on experts analysis.
This study makes suggestions in the context of government procurement of insulin directly from an insulin manufacturer. The numbers should be interpreted as a price point for what a government might expect to pay per person per year if they were negotiating a dollar amount directly with an insulin biosimilar manufacturer.
Cost Of Extra Accessories
You may need or wish to buy additional accessories including pouches to hold your pump securely on your body.
A range of pouches are available including:
- Waist worn pump pouches
- Thigh band pump pouches
- Waterproof pump pouches for showering
Insulin pump pouches are available in all sorts of different designs and typically cost between £10 and £20 per pouch.
You May Like: Walmart 70 30 Insulin Pen
Sensitivity And Subgroup Analyses
Use of real-world data implied imperfect entry over time for treatment and missing data among the clinical variables in the NDR. Sensitivity analyses were used to explore two alternative definitions of continuous insulin pump therapy and four strategies for imputing missing variable information , which generated eight different and overlapping cohorts . The main analysis used cohort A1, combining a liberal definition that allowed for single information gaps and the most extensive imputation strategy. This cohort contained the highest number of individuals.
We performed 13 subgroup analyses to evaluate the robustness of the estimates of level of costs and differences between treatment groups. The subgroup analyses explored duration of continuous pump therapy , individuals with an observed switch to pump therapy , three levels of HbA1c at the index date , four age-groups, and sex.
Case 1successful Pump Therapy Implementation
SQ is a 19 year old female with type 1 diabetes since the age of 12. She was referred by her pediatrician to transition care to adult endocrinology. She was hospitalized upon diagnosis for the treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis . In the first few years, SQ struggled to adjust to her new diagnosis. Despite frequent changes in her multiple daily insulin injection regimens, she continued to have erratic glycemic control, with HbA1c ranging from 8.6% to 10.8%. Her menstrual cycles started at age 13 and the patient had normal growth for her age however, on her healthy child follow up visits, the patient frequently complained of chronic fatigue. Her school grades fell and her participation in extracurricular activities waned. While in high school, SQs parents enrolled her in a diabetes summer camp where she was taught how to count carbohydrates properly and learned the importance of good glycemic control along with her peers who had the same disease and challenges. SQ began checking her blood glucose prior to each meal and her blood sugars improved greatly with proper pre-meal bolusing. Concurrently, her energy level and grades improved, and she began participating in school activities again. Over the last year, her HbA1c has ranged from 7.4% to 7.8% and she has had no episodes of DKA. She is a counselor at the same diabetes camp that she attended. Now in college, she is interested in learning more about insulin pump therapy.
Read Also: What Is The Most Common Form Of Diabetes
Costs Of Vials And Syringes
Syringes usually cost between $15 and $20 for a box of 100 depending on where you get them from. Based on where you live, you can purchase them over the counter or online at diabetes supplies stores.
Vial prices vary for each brand and may change with little notice.
For example, a recent internet price search found that Humalogs list price is roughly $325 per 10 ml vial. Admelog is priced at around $200 per 10 ml vial, while the recently released authorized generic of Humalog is priced at $170 per 10 ml vial. The price varied depending upon pharmacy location.
With insurance, a copay and coinsurance rate can be as low as $5, but it can sometimes rise as high as 50 percent or more of the total cost.
Retail pharmacies like Walmart offer older versions of Regular and NPH human insulin for just $25 per vial.
You and your doctor will work together to determine the best insulin for you.
An Insulin Pump Uses Only Rapid
Unlike Multiple Daily Injection therapy , insulin pump therapy does not involve the use of long-lasting insulin. Small amounts of fast-acting insulin are delivered regularly throughout the day. This allows the pumper to set very specific amounts of insulin to be delivered at exact times.
For some people with diabetes having no background insulin can create a feeling of unease. The threat of DKA is greater for those on a pump if there is any sort of failure in the device or the delivery of insulin.
Other people feel a sense of freedom as they no longer are forced to follow the clock. When using an insulin pump you no longer need to be concerned about the peaks of long-lasting NPH insulin or the limitations of a single basal rate offered by insulin glargine. An insulin pump lets you set a variety of basal rates to meet the naturally occurring needs of your body. It further allows you to match insulin to carbohydrate intake rather than having to feed your insulin. You can chose to eat, snack or graze when you want and however much you want.
Read Also: Can We Cure Type 2 Diabetes
Whats Fueling The Rapid Increase In Insulin Prices
There is no doubt that the prices of insulin have reached a tipping point where some people cant afford their medication. In a presentation for the ADA, Irl B. Hirsch, MD, explains that from 2013 to 2016, a vial of glargine insulin had a price increase of 593%, and a box of five insulin lispro pens rose 522%. During that time, inflation rose by only 8.3%. In 2014, drugmakers increased the price of insulin twice, each time for approximately 16%. That means insulin prices rose by over 30% in one year.
There isnt just one reason for the high cost of insulin. Pharmaceutical companies complain that pharmacy benefit managers administering prescription benefits for commercial insurance companies drive the cost up by requiring rebates to have their brand of insulin included in the insurance formulary. They claim their net price is lower than the list price. But the PBMs say its the pharmaceutical companies who set the list price.
Several factors keep insulin prices high:
Higher levels of competition would lower prices, increasing the affordability of insulin.
The rising cost of insulin has real-world consequences. A group in Minneapolis reportedly take a bus to Canada to purchase insulin at a fraction of the price as it sells for in the United States.
Potential Benefits Of Pump Therapy
The expected benefits of insulin pump therapy are summarized in . Insulin pump use provides a near-physiologic basal-bolus insulin delivery method that, in theory, mimics normal pancreatic function better than injections . Precise insulin dosages can be programmed and administered, giving the patient increased flexibility in daily living with regard to mealtimes, travel, work schedule, etc. . Observational studies, meta-analyses, and randomized clinical trials have demonstrated improvements in long-term glycemic control when compared with daily multiple-dose insulin injections . Evidence from clinical studies suggests that pump therapy is associated with a decreased risk of severe hypoglycemia and the need for emergent medical care . The latter translates into reduction in the cost of care and utilization of health care resources . Quality of life measures have shown improvement with pump therapy compared with MDII .
Don’t Miss: Chromium Picolinate Dosage For Diabetes
Case 6benefits Of The Insulin Pump In Patients With Type 2 Diabetes And Insulin Resistance
RW is a 47-year-old Hispanic male who has had type 2 diabetes for 16 years. He is morbidly obese with a body-mass index of 43. Both of his parents and two of his three siblings suffer from diabetes. He is taking metformin and multiple-dose insulin injections. He has tried incretin-based therapies in the past for their glucose-lowering and weight-stabilizing benefits but could not tolerate the gastrointestinal side-effects. The patients daily insulin dose has been progressively increased to a regimen of glargine 115 units twice a day and aspart 4560 units prior to each meal. He prefers to use disposable insulin pens for convenience however, individual pens only hold 300 units and do not last more than two days each. Efforts at lifestyle changes aimed at weight loss have been marginally successful. His A1c level varies between 7.9% and 8.6%. He is motivated to improve his health and checks his fingerstick glucose readings several times a day.
Considering his high insulin requirements and burden of multiple daily insulin injections, what management options could be presented to him?
How Do I Store Diabetes Medications And Supplies
If you take insulin, your doctor or diabetes educator will give you full instructions for storing it and using it effectively. Some diabetes drug manufacturers suggest storing the insulin in the refrigerator. Yet, as anyone with diabetes will tell you, injecting cold insulin into the body can be painful.
To avoid a painful, cold injection, many diabetes educators suggest keeping insulin at room temperature while it’s being used. Insulin should last about one month at room temperature. Many people prefer to keep the diabetes supplies in a kitchen or bedroom drawer. That way, the glucose monitor, syringes, insulin, lancets, alcohol swabs, and other necessary supplies are always together and available for use.
Always think ahead. You never want to risk being without the supplies and medicine you need. Keep extra supplies on hand to reduce the risk of a diabetic emergency. If you use insulin, you can store extra bottles in the refrigerator and take a bottle out so it has time to warm to room temperature before giving yourself an injection.
Never freeze insulin or store it in a hot location. If you purchase insulin from a pharmacy, be sure to take it home soon after buying it to avoid extreme temperatures. Also, keep test strips dry, and don’t expose them to moisture or extreme heat or cold or you may damage the integrity of the strip.
Don’t Miss: Financial Help With Diabetic Supplies
How Much Does It Cost To Produce Insulin
Editors Note: People who take insulin require consistently affordable and predictable sources of insulin at all times. If you or a loved one are struggling to afford or access insulin, .
Half of the estimated 100 million people worldwide who need insulin do not have reliable, affordable access to the medication that keeps them alive. The three largest manufacturers of insulin Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi control 96% of the global market volume. Right now, there is no competitive biosimilar market to drive prices down. The lack of competition has resulted in price increases, intensifying the life-threatening issue of access to insulin both in the United States and abroad.
So how much does it actually cost to produce insulin? And if a truly competitive market existed, how much could insulin cost per person?
Researchers from Imperial College London, the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Liverpool University set out to answer these questions with support from the ACCISS study, aiming to improve access to insulin globally. A recent study estimated the price tag associated with creating regular human insulin, analog insulin and their biosimilars.