Relion Branded Novolog Getting Released

Would be nice if they are able to drive the price down even further, but $72 for vials and $85 for a box of flexpens is better than nothing for those that can’t afford their prescriptions but don’t want to use R and NPH. Hopefully they get the price down close to what you can mail order these insulin’s for from Canada and add a good basal.


And ideal if insurance would insist on adding to PBM formulary !!! I think relion strips are on mine, so why not insulin.

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Novalog is out of patent too:

So I guess this is Novo’s way of heading off the generics while keeping a higher price on things branded Novolog. They also still have patents on the pens (according to the above page), but Sanofi, who manufacture Admelog the Humalog generic, have their own (SoloStar) pens.

Going out of patent means the prices will decrease, though slowly because there seem to be only three manufacturers active in the US. IMO, however, the big problem is that the analog (GE) insulins require a prescription. I remember when I had to stop using UltraTard (which was a Novo product IRC); I had to stop using it because Novo stopped making it. It was, of course, OTC and the replacement (Lantus in my case) required a prescription and didn’t work anywhere near as well.

That’s a feature of the US - the requirement for a prescription ties the drug into the convoluted US supply chain which allows the price to be manipulated along the way; the PBM charges an inflated price and gives a kick backs from that money, the pharmacy benefits because it gets a mark up based on the inflated price.

Last time I checked myself was with the Humalog generic; I checked with my insurance company when they asserted I should change to Novo products (because they were ‘preferred’). The generic wasn’t covered.

So far as people without the US insurance nightmare are concerned, don’t all the manufacturers offer $100/month insulin subscriptions? There’s Sanofi’s example on the page I posted. If I assume 25IU/day as a typical requirement that’s comparable (well, same ball park) with the $72/vial (10ml).


Just came here to post this… same story


I was under the impression that prescriptions are not always needed for insulin; perhaps R , NPH, (or another type of insulin?) and some folks buy these insulin from Walmart. Why is it that prescriptions are necessary for Novolog? It’s not like someone is going to use insulin recreationally and get high. The healthcare system and health insurance is bewildering.


This is true for Walmart, in most states in US but not all.


It’s because in 1996 Lilly convinced the FDA to require a prescription for Humalog. I suspect they did this to involve insurance (and start the gravy train), as @jbowler described above. All the other insulins developed since then have needed a prescription.

Prior to 1996, I don’t think any insulins required a prescription. If you’re interested, Dr Irl Hirsch made a few presentations on the topic of insulin pricing, very informative.


That would have been Indiana:

Insulin never required a prescription because it pre-dated the modern US prescription mechanism. A doctor can always write a prescription, for anything, including salt pills:

(That article says ‘sugar pills’, but of course they are dangerous for people with certain conditions and can be addictive :wink:

The Indiana case is somewhat weird but I think fairly typical of the abilities of elected officials in the US.

There’s no magic to “a prescription”; I get my prescriptions from a nurse practitioner, pharmacists can prescribe (though I don’t think they can prescribe insulin, or, presumably, CGMs).


If they wanted to make insulin more affordable they would remove the requirement to see a doctor to have to get a prescription. A prescription could be written when you have insurance and you want it covered.


That’s the way it works pretty much everywhere, but then pretty much everywhere the chemist will look at you askance and ask you why you don’t see a doctor; it doesn’t cost anything beyond a little bit of your time and it may save your life.

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I think there is some concern since insulin overdose has been given with intent to harm.

Rare, but has happened.

@MM2 Sure, but you can kill someone with a knife, rat poison, insecticides, aspirin and other over the counter medications, even potassium and with the castor beans and other plants that grow everywhere which are all legal. Heck, too much water can kill you.

If you want to really kill someone, there are numerous ways besides insulin.


Well, indeed; insulin seems particularly safe, at least compared with the known dangerous stuff like salt, and water (ingested, not immersed in). This article tried injecting rats with 200IU/kg/day [insulin, not water]:

“A few deaths occurred because of hypoglycaemia.” So, assuming a typical American approaches 100kg (US males weight 200lb, females 170lb) that’s 200ml, 20 vials, of U100 insulin a day, injected. I think even I would notice that.

Had they injected the rates with the same amount (2g/kg) of KCl half of the rats would have died. Had they used NaCl the number would have been lower (the LD50 of salt is about 4g/kg), but probably more than died from hypoglycaemia.

Now water, now that’s a different matter:

It's Easier To Die from Drinking Too Much Water Than Smoking Too Much Pot.

PANIC, PANIC - water the hidden dangerous drug. The War on Water. Prescriptions required. Buying more than 12oz of water at a time now illegal. Criminals found selling 2.5 gallon plastic contains of water, and the containers aren’t BPA free either!

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