16 Responses

  1. Jay
    Jay March 29, 2012 at 9:35 am | | Reply

    The reason insulin is so expensive in the USA is because big Pharma has influenced the laws so that we, the people have no choice but to pay them whatever they ask.

    If we as diabetics actually started expressing our outrage at this and stopped acting as if it’s just the way things are, then we wouldn’t have to place our hopes on biosimilarity or anything else.

    Here is a price list for Novolog insulin from Canada. It’s basically 45 bucks a bottle, which is $84 cheaper than what I pay my Pharmacy (or my Pharmacy bills my insurance for and they pay) at $129 per pop.

    Of course, it’s illegal for us to order insulin from Canada. Hmmmm. I wonder why. it’s the same product.

    Novolog Insulin Vials (Insulin) 1x10mL (1 vial) 10.00 ml $44.99
    Novolog Insulin Vials (Insulin) 1x10mL (3 vials) 30.00 ml $134.97
    Novolog Insulin Vials (Insulin) 1x10mL (5 vials) 50.00 ml $224.95
    Novolog Insulin Vials (Insulin) 1x10mL (10 vials) 100.00 ml $449.90

    1. June S.
      June S. March 30, 2012 at 5:54 am | | Reply

      I use Apidra in my pump. Currently its manufacturer seems to be running some sort of a special. I paid $60.00 for three bottles on my last few visits to the pharmacy. I don’t know if it’s because they are trying to drum up business, or what, but check with your local pharmacy to see what’s up. I was definitely told that the manufacturer is absorbing the rest of the cost (and I do have good health insurance, so it’s not that they took pity on me.)

  2. Dan Fahey
    Dan Fahey March 30, 2012 at 6:01 am | | Reply

    I would say, “be careful what you wish for.” I’d rather more expensive insulin if the alternative is a biosimilar that is variable in its efficacy.

    I have a certain skepticism about generics, and these biosimilars seem like they carry greater risk than do generics.

  3. Jay
    Jay March 31, 2012 at 8:11 pm | | Reply

    Yes, I read the article on buying insulin from Canada…it showed up when I did a search for that, if I remember correctly:) Very helpful.

    Interesting about Apidra. I am not familiar with that insulin. Is it similar to Novolog?

    I am looking for a way to stock up on insulin in case of emergency–natural, financial, you name it. Insurance is not just having someone pay someone else for your supplies. The world is unpredictable these days. And perhaps in an emergency you might have to share with someone else in need. I’d like to have several months of supplies. I know that sounds extreme but at 2 bottles per month, that’s only 6 bottles or so. it’s also expensive. It’s tricky to get prescriptions to work for purchasing backup, supplies. Why?

    I have an unusual insurance plan, in that I have to purchase my supplies first, and then get a reimbursement check from the agency (once i meet my deductible) As a result, I get to experience the actual price that the pharmaceuticals are charging the insurance company. I know that most people are shielded from this because when I pull out my debit card to pay for my supplies, the pharmacist always shakes his head or does a double take if he’s new, because it seems like an outrageously high copay.

    It never ceases to amaze me how the price of every thing I have no choice but to purchase continually, continually, continually goes up, month to month, year to year, at a much, much MUCH faster rate than anything else I pay for.

    It is quite simply, outrageous. There’s no other word for it. This isn’t inflation, it’s profiteering.These companies might be making good products, but they are also fleecing us and our insurance companies and the entire healthcare system for all its worth. I would call it equivalent to charging the Pentagon $400 per bolt, because they have a captive audience and the people who are actually using the products are not the ones dealing with the prices.

    If more people were in my situation, I think there would outrage. That’s where I stand on this and I wish there was something that could be done about it.

  4. Stella
    Stella April 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm | | Reply

    June, I signed up on Apidras website and I get my insuling for free right now until the end of the year. I can only get 2 bottles of insulin each month and I can’t use mail order, I have to go to the drug store each month, but I get free insulin until the end of the year. It is worth looking into!!!

    Jay, I used to use Novolog but switched to Apidra because my doctor said it is easier on scarring rather than Novolog/Humalog does and after 28 years of insulin sites/infusion sets/CGMs, I have a lot of scarring.

  5. Press release from 20th April 2012: Making poverty history, cheaper drugs now! | The Serene Scientist

    [...] The Biosimilar Promise of Less Expensive Insulin ( This entry was posted in In the News and tagged Biosimilar, Chief Scientific Officer, Covance, Eden Biodesign, Frank Gallagher, Genetic engineering, Insulin, Shameless by . Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  6. Devon DuVal
    Devon DuVal October 11, 2012 at 11:10 am | | Reply

    Anyone checked the price now. Checked with 3 Canadian pharmacies. $259.00 a vial !!!!!!

    1. kathy shuller
      kathy shuller February 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm | | Reply

      I did. Shocking isn’t it?
      This huge increase could have only come from drug manufactures. The big quesiton is why. answer is the assumption that everyone in America will soon have health/drug insurance and they won’t. Canadians don’t pay for health care. It is all free including their drugs.

  7. kathy shuller
    kathy shuller February 5, 2013 at 2:11 pm | | Reply

    I just sent an email to a canadian pharmacy asking for an explanation of why the cost of OTC insulin is now almost $260 a bottle. When I get a response I will post it here.

  8. kathy shuller
    kathy shuller February 5, 2013 at 2:16 pm | | Reply

    INTERESTING. They JUST lowered the price by over $70 a bottle. Weird goings on. It is now $188.49 which is still OUTRAGEOUS.

  9. Scott Strumello
    Scott Strumello February 15, 2013 at 11:13 am | | Reply

    If my opinion matters on this subject, applicants for biosimilar insulin can apply today by law, and the reason is because insulin is grandfathered under the Federal Food Drugs and Cosmetics Act, and that does not require the product to be an exact copy to gain approval. Witness what happened with Onmitrope from Sandoz (part of Novartis) a few years ago. By the way, several years ago, I wrote about how Express Scripts did a report on so-called “biosimilars” (see that post at and based on that data, my conservative calculation was that biosimilar (“generic”) insulin could save $797 million in the first year alone, and totaling in excess of $16 billion over 10 years. To be sure, the FDA should be permitted to release its final guidance on biosimilars which are now mandated by law under the Affordable Care Act. Draft Guidance was released a year ago, and many of us commented on that, but the FDA is likely to release final guidance shortly. In the end, biosimilars WILL arrive, the key is whether a) the law permits automatic substitution. Legislation now pending in Illinois would mandate substitution regardless of what the FDA outlines in the final guidance (BAD IDEA, Illinois!!! Very bad!). In my comments to the FDA, I told them I wanted better disclosure labeling from pharmacies of the underlying manufacturer, and also that patients deserve a minimum of 120 days following advance notice from pharmacy benefits managers (e.g. Express Scripts and the like) to fill their last order before the old biosimilar is replaced with a new one. We shall see what’s in the final FDA guidance in the not-too-distant future.

  10. vale
    vale November 7, 2013 at 6:59 pm | | Reply

    walmart novilin n and r 24.95 a bottle no perscription or insurance needed

  11. Don
    Don November 12, 2013 at 12:07 pm | | Reply

    I just purchased 2 bottles of Novalog from Walmarts, cost me 300.00 out of pocket, will last 30 days. When I first started taking insulin 40 years ago it was 20 bucks a bottle. Makes you feel like blasting somebody.

  12. hayes
    hayes August 11, 2014 at 7:00 am | | Reply

    Walmart Novolog is about 88.46 with our insurance currently. The needles should be included at that price!! Cant use it without the needles, why oh why does it have to be so expensive, it takes the food off of our table for seniors on ss. We are hungry.

  13. Lisa Nahin
    Lisa Nahin September 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm | | Reply

    30 years ago I paid $6 per bottle (NPH and Regular) 1000 units, with NO insurance. Today with insurance it’s 30$ a bottle…without insurance $221 per bottle. I would love to see where the other 190 went. I’m guessing the insurance company didn’t pay that much, and it didn’t cost that much to make (even with costs due to regulation). So how much are the top few pocketing?

    I would love to see the pie chart showing the distribution of the scandal!

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