Walmart said it will offer a less expensive version of insulin that could better fit into the budgets of millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance or struggle to pay for the lifesaving diabetes drug. Starting this week, the retailer will sell an exclusive private-label version of analog insulin, ReliOn NovoLog, to adults and children who have a prescription.The drug will be available at its membership-based Sam’s Club in mid-July. The insulin will cost about $73 for a vial or about $86 for a package of prefilled insulin pens. Insulin is the latest addition to Walmart private brand of diabetes products, ReliOn.
It already sells a low-price version of insulin for about $25 as part of the line, but that is an older formulation that some doctors and advocates say is not as effective at managing blood sugar swings as newer versions of insulin, called analogs. With the move, Walmart will bring its longtime focus on everyday low price to a drug that is a medical necessity for a growing number of Americans.
As the number of people with diabetes climbs, the cost of the 100-year-old drug has soared rather than fallen and drawn scrutiny from lawmakers. According to the most recent data available from the Health Care Cost Institute, the annual cost of insulin for people with Type 1 diabetes in the U.S. nearly doubled from $2,900 in 2012 to $5,700 in 2016.