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Humalog Cost...Paying full price

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#1
Nita

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I have posted here before and have told why I am paying full price for Humalog....I think 91.75 at Sam's Wholesale Club.

On line there is a Canadian Pharmacy selling it for 43.99 plus 12.00 shipping per order (could even be more than one vial). A prescription is not needed for Humalog in Canada.

I use two vials a month and am thinking of ordering two. Since it could be 10-12 days before it got here packed in a cold pack (which probably is not cold after three days) I am a little concerned about it not being refrigerated during the shipping time. The lady on the phone there says it all would have to be used within 30 days. I am not always sure I would use quite the two vials according to what I eat.

You can tell I am a bit nervous about this or I would not be posting here. What do you think?

Any one in the states using a Canadian pharmacy to save?

Thanks,
Nita

#2
Psycho Penguin

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91.75 for one vial? That's crazy. Can you try novalog? I don't know what the differences are but it was cheaper for me.
Type 1 diabetic since February 2008

Novalog: sliding scale as needed
Lantus 40u at night

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#3
cyberus

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I would be a bit suspicious about why it would take 10-12 days to travel from anyplace in Canada to anyplace in the US, to me that sounds more like one of those foreign places with a Canadian "order center", and while it might be legit I think we've all seen the reports of watered down or relabeled expired drugs coming from these places. I would think a reputable Canadian pharmacy would insist on FedEx or UPS for a perishable item like that traveling from Canada to Texas.
As always YMMV!

Diagnosed: July 3 2008
A1C- 7/08= 10.6 :eek: 11/08 = 5.6 5/09= 5.3 11/09 = 5.6 :D
triglycerides - 7/08 = 192 :( 11/2008 = 84 11/09 = 66 :D
HDL - 7/08 = 46 :( 11/2008 = 74 11/09 = 79 :D
LDL - 7/08 = 106 :( 11/2008 = 80 11/09 = 65 :D

Low Carb Diet (15-50g/day)
Metformin ER 500mg 2x day
Neurontin 800mg 3x day
Meloxicam 15mg 1x day (arthritis)
Multivitamin, B12, fish oil

#4
cyberus

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Another thought.

You should check to see if Texas has a drug price disclosure law that requires pharmacies to give the price of prescription drugs over the phone. If so get on a internet yellow pages and start calling every pharmacy in every town along I20 to Abilene and then start on I30 to Texarkana .. and if that don't give a better number start working the highways north and south.

Its amazing what kind of price differences you can find, even some pharmacies within a town.

I get 2 of my prescriptions from Walmart, one from the clinic and one from a local independent. Why 3 places? Because thats where each is cheapest, I took full advantage of Michigan's disclosure law and saved over $100 a month just by making some phone calls.
As always YMMV!

Diagnosed: July 3 2008
A1C- 7/08= 10.6 :eek: 11/08 = 5.6 5/09= 5.3 11/09 = 5.6 :D
triglycerides - 7/08 = 192 :( 11/2008 = 84 11/09 = 66 :D
HDL - 7/08 = 46 :( 11/2008 = 74 11/09 = 79 :D
LDL - 7/08 = 106 :( 11/2008 = 80 11/09 = 65 :D

Low Carb Diet (15-50g/day)
Metformin ER 500mg 2x day
Neurontin 800mg 3x day
Meloxicam 15mg 1x day (arthritis)
Multivitamin, B12, fish oil

#5
steamfan261

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A while ago, during the inevitable insurance screw up, I checked prices at 6 pharmacies for a single vial of Humalog. The highest price for the vial was $114.50 at a well-known national drug store chain. The lowest price was $86.50 at a pharmacy in a small regional food store chain.

Prices for Humalog are dramatically lower in Europe. I think in the 30 Euro range for a vial. Been a while, and my memory isn't what it never was.

Doug

#6
enigmalady777

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Nita: does it absolutely have to be Humalog? The price difference between Humalog and Humalin R (regular insulin) is quite dramatic. A vial of regular insulin through Walmart is typically about $20.00, and in most states, a prescription is not required.
The newer (more expensive) insulins which have come onto the market are what are known as "insulin analogs". This means they are genetically engineered molecules that are not identical to the stuff your body makes on its own. The analogs have an additional chain stuck onto the fundamental insulin molecule, usually to affect the timing with which it hits the body. Humalog, Novolog, Lantus and Levemir are all analog insulins.

Regular insulin, in contrast, is chemically the same molecule as what your body makes. Humulin and Novolin R and NPH are regular insulins. They are much cheaper than analogs.

The biggest difference between Analogs (Humalog, Novolog) and regular insulin, besides price is the rate at which the insulin goes to work. Regular takes half hour to an hour, while the Analogs will go to work within 15 minutes. Peak wise, they are about the same.

One of the biggest benefits (besides price) to using Regular insulin is that you are less likely to experience lows as the action is more gentle and predictable.

Regular insulin does not get the marketing push the analog insulins get so your doctor may have been convinced it is "obsolete", but this is not true. You can get very good control with R insulin. You may want to ask your doctor about it.

The doctors within my HMO all prescribe regular (Novolin R) to patients needing a Basal/Bolus routine. The cost difference may be one reason, but I think the other is that they tend to be more conservative at this HMO - newer drugs are generally not on their formulary. I had asked about Byetta a few weeks back and the doctor gave me 64 reasons why they won't prescribe it. Bottom line: it isn't on their formulary. But that's okay - Byetta is VERY expensive.
Lantus, Novolog
Metformin 850 x 3
Lower carb lifestyle

A1C:
11/3/07: 7.5
2/23/08: 7.4
8/30/08: 8.1 :eek:
1/29/09: 5.7
5/21/09: 5.7
9/28/09: 5.8
12/27/09: 5.3
03/15/10: 6.0
08/06/10: 6.1
12/02/10: 6.3

Triglycerides:
11/3/07: 321
2/23/08: 328
8/30/08: 330
1/29/09: 166
5/29/09: 230
9/28/09: 201
03/15/10: 203
08/06/10: 200
12/02/10: 207

#7
Patient254

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Very nice explanation, enigmalady777. I will talk to my doc about this subject as I'm paying more for Humalog & Lantus as well.
Laura
T1 Latest A1C is: 5.4

#8
Nita

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Wow....what I do learn here. Every time I am confused, needy, or desperate .... all I have to do is post and ask.

Thank you all so much....I have enough insulin to last me until my next visit to the doc....(Even if I did pay top dollar)!!! I will have a big discussion with her and also HAVE to start speaking up and take control of what doctors prescribe and tell them I can't afford them.

You all are the greatest!

Nita

#9
Kberryma

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Nita,

I have been a type 1 diabetic for 17 years and am currently working on a story about the cost of diabetes. I think your story and the information you've found about canadian medicine is really interesting. I'd like to talk to you more about it. Please contact me at Kimberly.L.Berryman@abc.com as soon as you can. (my deadline is Nov. 10). THANK YOU!

#10
Kberryma

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Hi Doug,

My name is Kim and I have been a type 1 diabetic for 17 years. The cost of diabetes can be really tough and I am currently writing a news story on the topic. I'd love to quote you on some of your experiences in paying for insulin and the various different costs you've found. My deadline is Nov.10 but if you can please email me as soon as you can at Kimberly.L.Berryman@abc.com, I would really like to include you in the article. Thank you!!

#11
stlduckhunter

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I live in France about a third of the time and the last bottle of Humalog that I purchased was about 27 euros.

#12
w5wjp

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91.75 for one vial? That's crazy. Can you try novalog? I don't know what the differences are but it was cheaper for me.


Novolog is the same price as Humalog.


If I had to pay for it out of mu own pocket, I would be ordering from Canada.
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#13
w5wjp

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Nita: does it absolutely have to be Humalog? The price difference between Humalog and Humalin R (regular insulin) is quite dramatic. A vial of regular insulin through Walmart is typically about $20.00, and in most states, a prescription is not required.
The newer (more expensive) insulins which have come onto the market are what are known as "insulin analogs". This means they are genetically engineered molecules that are not identical to the stuff your body makes on its own. The analogs have an additional chain stuck onto the fundamental insulin molecule, usually to affect the timing with which it hits the body. Humalog, Novolog, Lantus and Levemir are all analog insulins.

Regular insulin, in contrast, is chemically the same molecule as what your body makes. Humulin and Novolin R and NPH are regular insulins. They are much cheaper than analogs.

The biggest difference between Analogs (Humalog, Novolog) and regular insulin, besides price is the rate at which the insulin goes to work. Regular takes half hour to an hour, while the Analogs will go to work within 15 minutes. Peak wise, they are about the same.

One of the biggest benefits (besides price) to using Regular insulin is that you are less likely to experience lows as the action is more gentle and predictable.

Regular insulin does not get the marketing push the analog insulins get so your doctor may have been convinced it is "obsolete", but this is not true. You can get very good control with R insulin. You may want to ask your doctor about it.

The doctors within my HMO all prescribe regular (Novolin R) to patients needing a Basal/Bolus routine. The cost difference may be one reason, but I think the other is that they tend to be more conservative at this HMO - newer drugs are generally not on their formulary. I had asked about Byetta a few weeks back and the doctor gave me 64 reasons why they won't prescribe it. Bottom line: it isn't on their formulary. But that's okay - Byetta is VERY expensive.


The older insulins are NOT exactly the same as the stuff you make naturally. I can't remember off hand what the difference is but they have added compounds to control different aspects of the behavior. I do remember that regular insulin stays active for a whole lot longer (in some cases, up to 8 hours or more) whereas the analogs are gone in about 3-4 hours. If you use a pump that calculates insulin on board this is no problem but trying to keep track of what is still active manually is nearly impossible. Overlap of boluses is a major concern with regular and it can lead to hypos. Combined with NPH, it can be a real chore to avoid overlapping.

Order from Canada if you are paying out of pocket, I surely would.
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Cozmo 1800
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Pumping since Jan 4 2007
A1C: 7.0 on 7/28/08:top:

#14
ewalters

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My wife uses Humalog with her Insulin pump. She uses almost three viles per month. We don’t have insurance so we pay for it ourselves. Last year I went to the Philippines to do missions work. I was able to get her 36 viles at Walgreens in Manila for $32 per vile. I packed them in an insulated container with a couple of ice packs. And then I wrap it up in my cloths in my suitcase. It took me about 45 hours to get home with a layover in Tokyo. That was over a year ago. We keep the insulin in the refrigerator and it has been good all this time. She has two viles remaining. I know the Manila is a long way away but we saved enough money to pay for my trip and then some. Hope this helps someone.

#15
killerleaf

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when you see your doctor, definitley let her know your circumstances, that you have to pay out of pocket full cost. my doctor knew we were in a tight bind, and referred me to a program that now I do not have to pay for my diabetic anything...it pays for my strips, my lancets, the needles, and the insulin. it has been a blessing!
beware, for beyond there be dragons
Lantus 48 units twice a day
Latest A1C 7.1

#16
gunsdogs

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Nita my wife used a Canadian pharmacy for a long time until our insurance changed. she used http://www.jandrugs.com/
Novolin 70/30 100u am
Novolin 70/30 70u pm
Metformin 500mg x2
Aspirin 81mg
Lisinopril 10mg
Metprolol 12.5mg x2
Cilostazol 100mg x2
Simvastatin 20mg
Omeprazole 20mg

#17
Alysia

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As long as the insulin is at 85 degrees or lower it will be fine. Whatever vials I'm using constantly stay in my purse and I've never had a problem.

#18
Leonard Garcia

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Yep, I buy Humulin vials (no pen, use syringes) from my local WallMart for $24, no prescription needed. I have ordered insulin via mail and they use the cold-packs, but seeing that I live in Arizona, the heat still seems to affect it, so I no longer order. Now I got a deal buying a 90-day supply of Onglyza pills from Canada (1/3 the price than in many US pharmacies). Some Canadian pharmacy meds are actually ordered from overseas, so it takes me weeks to get after I order. (Check the internet scam lists first. I had good luck with Pharmacy RX World, Canadian Pharmacy, Online Prescription Drugs Store, Canada Pharmacies - Pharmacy RX World)

#19
withloveandagun

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I wouldn't suggest using Novolin R if you're currently using Humalog. Novolin R is not as fast acting. I struggled with my insulin for 3 years and finally when I got to see a real endo he explained why. My doctors had me on Novolin N and Novolin R. I couldn't control my sugars. I'm now on Levemir and Humalog. Humalog is rapid acting versus Novolin R which is fast acting. The R doesn't work fast enough to handle your meals (even though that's how it's prescribed). My blood sugars sat in the 300s-600s for 3 years. After 1 month on Humalog I have decent numbers for once. If you can switch to Novolog that may be better, but even still I've had much better results with Humalog. Good luck though. I definitely understand shopping around for medications. I live in Texas and I've never had an issue with a pharmacy giving me a price over the phone. My insurance covers my stuff but I used to pay out of pocket so I shopped around a lot.

#20
poodlebone

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If I had to pay out of pocket for insulin again (which I did for many years), I might have to go back to NPH + R. If I could afford only one newer insulin analog, I'd go for Lantus/Levemir for basal and return to Regular for bolus. It's true that it takes longer to start working and stays in your body a little longer, but it's easier to adapt to that than it is to deal with NPH. You just have to remember to bolus 20-40 minutes in advance, depending on your starting BG and meal.

Even when I switched to Humalog I liked to keep Regular around for eating out and high fat meals. I had many bad lows with Humalog. A lot of that was just because I didn't understand the insulin + food combo too well at first. Once I did, whenever I ate out or had a fatty meal I'd use Regular. It worked slower and lasted longer so it was a much better match for many foods.
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Liz
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Last A1c: 7/10: 5.4




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