I got this information from Scott Strumello, a noted diabetes advocate and diabetes sleuth: investigator, statistician and as he describes himself, ‘general badass.’ As long as I’ve known him, actually at least a decade now, he’s been searching through the weeds and uncovering the truth about Pharma.
Scott asked me to share this information about apps and coupons that drastically reduce the cost of insulin. Scott wrote on his blog specifically about coupons here. So, while you’re weighing your decision of perhaps what health insurance plan to choose during this open enrollment season, have a look into these options as well.
The bottom line is a number of coupon-generating websites/apps, provide major assistance regarding the cost of insulin, even for people who would otherwise not qualify for manufacturer patient assistance programs.
1. I know GoodRx as an app you download on your phone. GoodRx can also be found on Twitter @GoodRx and on Facebook @GoodRx. It offers patients lacking insurance (or those still trying to satisfy a deductible) access to PBM-negotiated discounts on insulin and many other prescription drugs. Scott says their discount on generic U100 Lilly Insulin is $68.38/vial sold at Walgreens and some local pharmacies. Novo Nordisk Aspart costs about $72.
2. RxSaver (on Twitter @RxSaverOfficial and on Facebook @RxSaverOfficial) offers Novo’s Aspart a few dollars cheaper for $67/vial at Walgreens and some local pharmacies. It also offers Lilly’s generic Lispro but in reverse, for about $71. Pens are a bit more costly.
Both these apps/websites offer savings which amount to 75% off the list price for Humalog and Novolog respectively. Unfortunately Scott says he hasn’t yet found such discounts for basal insulin. But, there are coupons available from the manufacturers of Basaglar and Semglee (generics for Lantus) which can be used at most pharmacies.
As for what’s to come, perhaps we can be cautiously optimistic. Another two biosimilar (generic) insulins are pending FDA review and Scotts says Wall Street notes historically when there are three or more competitors manufacturing the same product, costs start to fall.
If you’d like to read about the nuts-and-bolts of why insulin is so costly in the U.S. check out Scott’s blogpost here.