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Novo Nordisk to Offer Half-Priced Generic Insulin

Novo Nordisk is following in the steps of Eli Lilly by offering authorized generic versions of its insulin beginning in January 2020. 

Novo Nordisk generic insulin costs

The generic versions of Novo Nordisk’s NovoLog (insulin aspart) and NovoLog Mix (insulin aspart mix) will be discounted at 50 percent off the cost of their brand-name insulin. The prices are as follows:

  • Insulin aspart
    • 10 ml vial $144.68
    • 5 Penfill devices $268.73
    • 5 FlexPens $279.41 
  • Insulin aspart mix
    • 10 ml vial $150.06
    • 5 FlexPens $279.41

The brand-name NovoLog insulin options will still be available for those who wish to use them. 

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Eli Lilly’s generics

Eli Lilly began offering generic insulin lispro in March 2019, which sells for $137.35 for one vial and $265.20 for a pack of five pens. However, reports have shown that not many people with diabetes are using the new insulin lispro, and some have found it difficult to locate in pharmacies. 

Other cost-saving plans of Novo Nordisk

The company also plans to launch a $99 cash card program under which people can purchase three vials or two packs of insulin pens for a flat $99 fee.

Walmart also offers a Novo Nordisk version of human insulin for around $25 a vial. 

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More changes coming in insulin coverage

Beginning in March 2020, insulin will be regulated as biologics and biosimilars rather than drugs and generics due to regulations set in place in the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, part of the Affordable Care Act. 

In addition, the IRS recently named insulin a preventive medicine, allowing patients with high deductible plans to pay only a copay for it and not have to pay the list price until they meet their deductible. 

Conclusion

The growing insulin crisis has seen patients dying due to not being able to pay for their insulin. Complications also arise when patients switch from analog insulin to human insulin, which works differently in the body. Time will tell whether these new cost-saving measures help patients in the end.