Canada insulin: price comparisons

The SCOTUS Lexmark decision on 05/30/2017 appears to make import of FDA-approved drugs legal under certain conditions that are still a bit unclear. On that basis, we started researching sources and costs for Canadian insulin.

This is what we found, with numbers we looked up over the past few days:

What I would choose

If I had to choose, I would buy Basaglar for basal, and Novolog pens or vials, both from Mark’s Marine Pharmacy. Mark’s Marine Pharmacy is a brick-and-mortar pharmacy in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Full disclosure: I have dealt with Marks’ Marine Pharmacy in the past as a customer, to get medicine shipped to far-away destinations in the South Pacific where I was sailing (not for insulin).


  • Shipping is not included, will be $15 to $20 on average

  • 1 vial = 3.33 pens, while 2 vials = 6.66 pens. I thought that it would be cheaper to buy vials. But there is not a strong incentive to buy vials in the general case vs refills, and, in some cases, pens are cheaper than the vials when looking at the $/ml.

  • Novolog is called Novorapid in Canada

  • Novolog pens vs cartridges (refills): please be aware the plastic Novolog pens only go in whole unit increments, while the Novolog Echo pen has 1/2 unit capability.


Canadian Insulin Connection:
Discount Rx Mart:
Canadian Insulin:
Marks’ Marine Pharmacy:

This is not an endorsement, or a suggestion you should buy anything from any of them :slight_smile:

[EDIT] Now includes Humalog prices

$48 per vial of novolog… now even frugal Sam would acknowledge that’s probably a better deal than $25 for Walmart Regular

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Updated: now includes Humalog prices.

Have any of our members placed an order from any of these places yet? I think we need to see an order actually unfold and see what happens… I’ll go through the motions myself when I get home and see how far I get. Very often shipping to Alaska is a deal breaker though so I might not be the best investigator…


@Eric reported on Marks’ Marine Pharmacy – that’s it so far. @MaryPat wrote she would place a test order.

I also used for diabetes supplies. I bought a bunch of pens from them for very cheap.

With the novolog coupon my copay at Costco pharmacy for 3 boxes of 5 penfill cartridges in each box is $203 now that I’ve met deductible.

Without that coupon I get a better deal at one of these Canadian pharmacies than my insurance offers. My benefit is 80/20, and the list price for the three boxes is about $1580.

That is a sad state of affairs, and proof that our drugs in the U.S. are overpriced in a system that is out of hand.


The drug manufacturers here in the USA essentially count on the end user depending on insurance coverage… most Americans could not afford to pay $1600 for a couple boxes of insulin pens, so I believe that the manufacturers operate under the assumption that the retail price is an imaginary figure that doesn’t actually matter and pretty much just make it up out of thin air (or actually after a conference call with the other manufacturers) and then negotiate out their real prices via the PBMs rebates… the effects of this process are particularly harmful to the market… the end consumer isn’t involved in price competitiveness because it’s dictated to them which product they must buy, and their demand is inelastic because they require these products for survival… but until now they would never shop elsewhere no matter how high the ridiculous fake price gets because they’re only paying a small portion of it.

I truly hope this decision ends up changing some of the dynamics in this rigged game… If a significant portion of the population can buy meds for less than their insurance copay here at home, I guarantee you things will change… whether or not that will be allowed to happen on a significant scale I do not yet know

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