Cost of Regular/R insulin

I decided I wanted to give Regular insulin a try for evenings when I have high protein/fat meals so I can avoid a high alarm an hour or two after falling asleep… especially since I’m having trouble waking up to alarms earlier in the night.

I went to CVS and asked for a vial of R. The pharmacist came back with the vial and said, “this used to be really inexpensive.” Then he scanned the barcode and we discovered it costs $180 a vial!!!

I thought this stuff was supposed to be cheap.

I was trying to buy Humulin R. I’ve heard Walmart sells their own brand. Does the quality vary by brand? Are the Walmart ones decent quality?

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I think the Walmart brand is Novolin R. I use the Canadian version (Novolin ge Toronto) which should be the same thing under a different name. It’s $55 for 5 penfill cartridges or $30/vial up here, so that’s really disturbing what Lilly is charging in the States. I think it is slower-acting and less potent than Humulin R, which might be better for what we are using it for (protein).

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Yeah, I’m not entirely sure it’s worth the hassle anymore. We’ll see.

I think I’ll try-out the ReliOn insulin at Walmart. I don’t think it’s the Novolin brand… I think it’s a cheaper version. I’m willing to pay $30/vial for R which is supposed to be around the Walmart price. Looks like there’s a Walmart a few metro stops away from me. Unless somebody chimes in and says it’s a bad idea, I’ll probably head over sometime next week.

I’m trying out the ReliOn brand meter in a couple weeks too. haha

Yes, if you want the slow and cheap stuff, get ReliOn R from Walmart.

It’s only $25. And I don’t think it requires a script in most states.

I know other places have something like this too, but I just don’t know the specifics on it.


It’s Novolin R, they just put the Relion logo on the box:

It’s good stuff, a shame it doesn’t come in pen cartridges anymore in the States.


Neat! That makes me feel better. Thanks!

It it is of interest to you, if you use the non-disposable pens that use cartridges, you can put whatever you want in them:


@Katers87 the Walmart brand is sold as Relion and manufactured by Novo Nordisk. The R is definitely Regular and retails through most of US for $24.95/10ml vial. Larger sizes are available, just ask the pharmacist. They also make you sign a waiver saying no return/refunds. No Rx is needed to purchase, since it is not an Analog insulin.

I have used many many vials of the stuff, and found the quality to be as consistent as any.


Its the same exact thing at Walmart. I think occasionally they might switch from humalin to novolin. It rolls off the same exact assembly line.

I was under the impression cvs had the $25 vial available too.

Be sure you specify you want the cash price at Walmart because if they think they’re going to bill your insurance it’s still $180


@Katers87 Don’t know if you saw the study from the Diabetes Technology Society last year , but just in case the link is below. The Walmart Relion Confirm by Arkray tested rather well. The meter sells for $15, and strips are ~$36.00/100 everyday. With sales you could probably do better.



I’m a little late here, but thought I’d chime in: I buy vials of Novolin R at Walmart, OTC, for $25 per vial. You just have to ask the pharmacist.


I use Walmart Novolin R for meals/bolus and Walmart Novolin - NPH for basal both are cheap.

I do high protein 8-12 oz per meal, moderate fat, with a few cups of vegetables.

They’re cheap I like them and they are reliable - been using them for a few years.


Thanks for this thread. My first order of Novolog and Lantus were $121 each. I went online to my Medicare Advantage and Lantus would be $357 and Novolog would be $467. They said it was due to something called GAP. I contacted my Endo and she said she could give me a script for Relion from Walmart. So I came here to see it there was a thread on it, and found this. She said it comes in long acting and mealtime strengths. I hate to go back to syringes from the pen, but I can’t afford $800+ every three months.


I use the Novolin R from Walmart as part of my insulin therapy, along with Novolog/Admelog and Lantus/Basaglar.
Do you have reusable/refillable pens that you were previously using, or were you using the disposables?
Lantus Solostar and NovoRapid disposable pens do not appear to be refillable from those of us here on FUD that big on DIY.
You can use the Luxura, NovoEcho, and Humapens with cartridges that can be refilled over and over again using your Novolin vials.

There are more than a few posts by Eric, myself, and others here at FUD that explain how you might be able to do this.

Eric has an excellent post about the wide variety of Insulin pens floating around out there in D-Land.

[Insulin pen comparison]


Referring to N (NPH) and R (Regular) respectively. Note that these insulins are NOT a simple one-to-one substitute for analog insulins, e.g., Lantus & Novolog. Unlike Lantus, N has a distinct peak, not a flat curve, so you have to plan ahead for that. And R is much slower in onset and has a longer “tail” than Novolog or Humalog. As compared to Lantus-Novolg, this combination requires much more planning and adherence to a set schedule of what and when you eat, and the overlap between the two effect curves can make for unexpected results. I had some of the scariest lows of my life due to that.

Like many of us, I was on the R/N regimen for decades before the analogs came along, and it was a far more restrictive existence (I used to call it the “Eat Now or Die regimen”). Not to be discouraging–there are a lot more sources and information around now on how to manage with it than there were back in the pre-Internet days–but do be aware it’s going to take some learning and adjustment compared to what you’ve been doing.


Well said @drbbennett!


6 posts were split to a new topic: Bolusing with Novolin R

180$ for a vial it`s pretty much, check info about canadian insulin, for example the price of Humulin in Canada is lower than 80$.