Are Diabetes Medications Expensive?

Are Diabetes Medications Expensive? 

Are diabetes medications expensive? Here’s a closer look at insulin, non-insulin diabetes medications, and SLGT2-related therapies. The higher premiums also mean lower out-of-pocket costs. However, you’ll pay more for prescriptions if you’re not insured. Depending on your insurance plan, you’ll be paying $30 to $50 per prescription every month. And don’t forget to factor in the cost of a diabetes specialist visit or any other tests you might need. 

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Cost of insulin 

Insulin is a life-saving drug for people with diabetes. But the cost of insulin for diabetes can be staggering. A Minneapolis group recently bussed to Canada to purchase cheaper insulin. That’s why more Americans are looking for ways to reduce the cost of insulin for diabetes. Now, Walmart is planning to launch its version of analog insulin. It will cost $73 a vial or $251 for a package of prefilled insulin pens. 

Cost of non-insulin diabetes medications 

A multi-pronged approach is needed to make insulin more affordable for diabetic patients. Policies should increase access to comprehensive health insurance coverage with affordable co-payments and a value-based insurance design, which would include zero co-payments for high-value products. In addition, manufacturers must pass on rebates to patients to keep out-of-pocket costs low. Manufacturers argue that increases in list prices are justified, but such claims have been contested. 

Cost of SLGT2 medications 

The rising list prices of brand-name diabetes drugs aren’t the only reason why the cost of SLGT2 medications has risen sharply. Manufacturer rebates and discounts are also contributing to the increased price. Researchers compared the changes in the list prices of three classes of diabetes medications: GLP1 agonists, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) inhibitors, and sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. The SLGT2 inhibitors saw the most dramatic increase, followed by insulin and DPP4 inhibitors. Metformin cost hardly changed, with only an 11 percent increase. 

Cost of oral diabetes medications 

The cost of insulin and other diabetes medications can range anywhere from $100 per month to $200 a month if you don’t have health insurance. Medications for diabetes can also include insulin pumps, insulin pens, and other oral diabetic medications. While most health insurance plans cover the cost of these drugs, there are often out-of-pocket costs for some patients. Copays can reach $200 per month. Currently, there are five classes of oral diabetes medications. In some cases, a doctor will prescribe a combination of medications for better control of blood glucose levels. 

Cost of insulin for people with type 2 diabetes 

The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid coverage and decreased the number of diabetics who reported difficulty affording their prescription medications. However, some people still have to pay the full list price for insulin. Among people without health insurance, the highest proportion reported difficulty affording their diabetes medications were those with incomes between 100 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty level. These patients typically need regular medical care as well. Ultimately, policymakers will need to consider how much each patient is expected to pay for all types of care.