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Do not share your NovoLog FlexPen, NovoLog FlexTouch, PenFill cartridge or PenFill cartridge compatible insulin delivery device with other people, even if the needle has been changed. You may give other people a serious infection, or get a serious infection from them.
Amazon announced on Nov. 17, 2020, that it has, at long last, launched an online pharmacy for prescription medications. The company has been moving in this direction since its 2018 acquisition of PillPack for home delivery of certain medications.
Amazon is carrying all well-known insulin brands, but for most, there does not currently appear to be any savings over typical prices at local pharmacies around the country. See pricing details below.
But some of the pricing is a bit misleading, as it is broken down in different increments than those commonly prescribed amounts. For example, insulin pens come in boxes of five; but Amazon breaks down the pricing for an individual pen, which is not how most of us expect to see the cost calculations.
It is good to see that as part of the Amazon Pharmacy announcement, the online retail giant also unveiled a new savings program for Prime members who are paying without insurance: they can save up to 80% on generic drugs and 40% off brand-name meds at the time of checkout.
There are two types of human insulin available over the counter: one made by Eli Lilly and the other by Novo Nordisk. These versions of the medicine are older, and take longer to metabolize than some of the newer, prescription versions; they were created in the early 1980s, and the prices range from more than $200 a vial to as little as $25, depending on where you buy them.
Still, some people with diabetes, as well as some doctors, doubt that the benefits of that greater availability outweigh the risks, especially for patients who switch from one type of insulin to another without telling their doctor.
Dr. Todd Hobbs is chief medical officer of Novo Nordisk in North America, which makes Novolin, one of the two versions of insulin sold over the counter. His company partners with Wal-Mart to sell its version under the brand name ReliOn. (Wal-Mart declined to be interviewed for this story.)
The process of ordering insulin and saving up to 90% on your diabetes treatment has never been more straightforward. Just a few clicks, and your prescription medicine will be on its way to your address in the USA.
Medigap plans help pay costs that are not covered by Medicare, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. You can buy a Medigap policy from a licensed insurance company in your home state. Learn more online about Medigap rules, benefits, deadlines, and premiums.
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Several legislative proposals in Congress propose a $35 per month cap on what people with health insurance would have to pay out of pocket for insulin, a life-saving hormone taken regularly by many people with diabetes to maintain their health.
Among people with private insurance who currently pay more than $35 per month for insulin on average, half would save at least $19 per month, and a quarter would save at least $42 per month. Savings are highest among people who buy their own insurance.
The report analyzes 2018 claims data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services EDGE data for the individual and small-group markets and the IBM Health Analytics MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database for the large-employer market. It is available through the KFF-Peterson Health System Tracker, an online information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system.
Over-the-counter (OTC) insulin is sold more often at Walmart than at other pharmacy chains, most likely because of its lower cost and patients' inability to afford co-pays for prescription insulin, new research suggests.
Findings from surveys of nearly 600 US pharmacy chains in 2018 were published online February 18 in JAMA Internal Medicine by Jennifer N. Goldstein, MD, assistant program director of Internal Medicine at Christiana Care Health System, Newark, Delaware, and colleagues.
The results showed that OTC insulin is sold more commonly at Walmart than at other pharmacy chains and that inability to afford co-pays for prescription insulin was noted as a common reason for purchase, particularly at Walmart pharmacies.
In the United States, human insulins such as NPH and Regular insulin (and 70/30 mixtures) are available OTC in every state except Indiana. Walmart's own ReliOn brand of insulin (manufactured by Novo Nordisk) is considerably less expensive than the branded human insulins sold at other pharmacy chains, at approximately $25 vs $152-$163 for 10-mL vials of Novolin (Novo Nordisk) or Humulin (Eli Lilly). In contrast, insulin analogs such as lispro (Humalog, Eli Lilly), aspart (Novolog, Novo Nordisk), and glargine (Lantus, Sanofi) require prescriptions.
In an interview, Goldstein told Medscape Medical News, "Prescription [analog] insulins are considered by many to be easier to use and more predictable than the human insulins available over-the-counter. However, insulin prices have skyrocketed over the past decade and many patients with diabetes have had to ration their prescription insulin because of cost."
She cautioned that although human synthetic OTC insulins "may be an important treatment option for patients with diabetes who are uninsured or underinsured...use of such insulins without medical supervision is never recommended and could be very dangerous."
In 2018, Goldstein and colleagues conducted telephone surveys of employees of six Walmart pharmacies in each of the 49 states that allow OTC insulin and of other pharmacy chains (CVS, Walgreen's, or Rite Aid) geographically closest to each Walmart.
The questionnaire was completed by 561 pharmacies. Of those, 97% of the respondents from the 292 Walmart pharmacies and 80% from the 269 other pharmacy chains reported that they sold insulin OTC or without a prescription.
Of the 284 Walmart pharmacies selling OTC insulin, 87% reported selling it daily, 10.9% weekly, 1.1% monthly, and 1.1% "a few times a year." In contrast, none of the other chains reported selling it daily, 1.4% reported weekly sales, 8.8% monthly sales, and 46.3% "a few times a year." Notably, 34.5% reported that they never sold it (P
Asked whether they were aware of patients who purchased insulin OTC because they couldn't afford the co-pay for their prescribed insulin, 70.1% of the Walmart responses were "yes," compared with just 19.7% from the other pharmacy chains (P
Walmart pharmacies reported selling a median four vials of insulin over the counter daily (mean, six vials; range, 1-50). Based on a total of 4700 Walmart pharmacies in the United States, the authors estimated that the company sells about 18,800 vials of over-the-counter insulin per day.
Carmen Smith now gets the insulin she needs via her doctor's prescription. When she lacked health insurance, buying a version of the medicine over the counter was cheaper, she says. But it was hard to get the dose right. Lynn Ischay for NPR hide caption
As anyone with diabetes can tell you, managing the disease with insulin usually means regular checkups at the doctor's office to fine-tune the dosage, monitor blood-sugar levels and check for complications.
"It's not like we go in our trench coat and a top hat, saying, 'Uh I need the insulin,' " says Smith, who lives in Cleveland. "The clerks usually don't know it's a big secret. They'll just go, 'Do we sell over-the-counter insulin?' "
Smith keeps the tools for controlling her diabetes in this kit, which contains metformin, syringes, fast-acting insulin for daytime use and slow-release for overnight. Lynn Ischay for NPR hide caption
Smith didn't learn from a doctor that she could buy insulin that way. In fact, many doctors don't know it's possible. When she no longer had insurance to help pay for doctors' appointments or medicine, Smith happened to ask at Wal-Mart if she could get vials of the medicine without a prescription. To figure out the dose, she just used the same amount a doctor had given her years before. 041b061a72