As prices for diabetes treatments continue to roil consumers, a new study suggests that manufacturers could make both human and analog insulins at low costs and still pocket a profit.

After analyzing expenses for ingredients, production, and delivery, among other things, the researchers contend that the price for a year’s supply of human insulin could be $48 to $71 a person and between $78 and $133 for analog insulins, which are genetically altered forms that are known as rapid or long-acting treatments. Examples of analog insulins include Humalog, Lantus, and Novolog.

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  • My husband uses insulin made for animals, we cannot pay the price for insulin prescribed to him. I thank God we can buy this substitute, but this is very sad.

    • A lot of veterinary drugs can be adapted for human use. The price difference is staggering. Comparing the prices of these drugs, or the costs in other markets, shows how corrupt the Pharma industry is. These topics or effectively censored by American media outlets.

      Importing Pharmaceuticals is another lie perpetuated by our media. Many of the pharma products on the American market are produced overseas. Any time the FDA claims that importing drugs is dangerous, it is a lie. The Chinese Government had to crack down on dirty pharma factories, before the FDA did. Greedy pharma executives knowing sold contaminated drugs here in the US. One factory put wallboard powder as filler in capsules. Of course most American physicians were uninformed, they did put that factual information in the marketing fliers. Physicians were dissuaded from discussing it.

    • The reason that the veterinary products are so much cheaper is that the very expensive human effectiveness studies aren’t necessary for their approval.

    • Ms Ruwart,

      The drugs are already in use for humans, and many have been for decades. They have already been tested for human use. The formula for Veterinary uses is identical. Only the dosages might need adjusting.

    • Mavis, even veterinary drugs that are first used in humans go through a regulatory process that includes studies that are specific to veterinary use. I remember scientists in Upjohn’s animal division complaining about how unnecessarily costly the regulatory process was. However, the cost is usually less than that for human drugs because the very expensive human effectiveness studies aren’t needed. That is why veterinary drugs are priced lower than what we get at the pharmacy. The production cost is not what drives prices, human or veterinary. The cost of meeting FDA’s regulations, which increase every year, drive the price of new human drugs (https://www.statnews.com/2018/10/01/changing-1962-law-slash-drug-prices/) and, in most cases, the costs of veterinary ones. These soaring regulatory costs are invisible to most of the public, who then attribute rising drug prices solely to company greed. While all companies, not just drug companies, want high profits, regulations governing pharmaceuticals are increasing drug manufacturer costs exponentially each year. I can send you the data if you’d tell me how best to reach you or you can request it via my website at http://www.ruwart.com.

  • I’m going to Walmart today to pick up a 6 month supply of Lantus and Novolog for our kid and it will cost me $3,864 USD. The equivalent purchase in Canada is $675 USD. Sure we could buy $25 walmart insulin but what parent wants to put their kid on insulin that’s called outdated and your pediatric endo is unwilling to talk about. We’re diabetic newbs so we currently believe the Novolog/Lantus marketing hype.

    • That is ridiculous. I pay 20 some dollars for one bottle of novolin at Walmart. Works fine. I’m a type 1 diabetic. This insulin does have a peak, so you have to eat more at these times.

  • The Pharma industry can well afford the paid trolls, that lurk on here, portraying an alternate reality of even less regulation. The facts is that the FDA continues to pander to industry insiders, bribe or policy makers and endanger the lives of Americans. It is no wonder most Americans want Universal Healthcare. That would lead to lower prices, and better and safer drugs. We could end this kind of deceptive marketing too, even after the opioid epidemic wreaked havoc access the US, and showed how corrupt this industry is, the industry came up with a counter narrative, and increased profits at the expense of millions of Americans.

  • Manufacturers pay an ever-increasing amount of money to get FDA approval. Pricing of new drugs, including new insulin analogs, are driven by the regulatory costs, not manufacturing costs, which are small in comparison. The 1962 Amendments to the Food & Drug Act, for example, increased the time it takes to get a drug to market from about 4 years to 14 years in the 1980s/1990s. There is little or no evidence that the increasing regulatory demands are giving us more safety or effectiveness. The quickest way to lower drug prices would be to reduce regulatory demands to include only those that can be shown to work as intended.

  • Our government has been addressing various solutions to help bring down the cost of drugs, and especially those which are brand name entities. I have an idea for all insulin injectable products: pass legislation that prohibits rebates to be paid to any PBM – period. Then, take those rebates and lower insulin costs by that rebate amount, and at least start the process. It is my belief that the big three (Sanofi, Novo-Nordisk, and Lilly) will be happy to accommodate that request and still smile all the way to the bank. On the other hand, the poor, misunderstood PBMs will just “have to suck it up!”

    Now take this one step further: how about a ban on ALL rebates. Express Scripts and Caremark brag about how they can live without rebates. I say “put ’em to the test.”

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