Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Having diabetes can be very expensive, which is why the most recent announcement from Walmart will come as welcome news: In an effort to save people with diabetes up to $60 million a year, the retailer has just introduced the low-cost ReliOn Prime meter and test strips to its ReliOn family of products. The meter will cost $16.24, while the strips will cost $9 for a 50-count package, coming out to 18 cents a test. Additional ReliOn products, such as lancets, syringes, and gloves, will see price reductions, while insulin products will be offered at the price of $24.88 a bottle.

“We’ve worked closely with our suppliers and found a way to significantly reduce the cost of diabetes products for all of our customers, whether they have insurance or not, so they can better manage their disease,” noted John Agwunobi, MD, president of Walmart US Health and Wellness.

For more information, click here.

This blog entry was written by Web Editor Diane Fennell.

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Comments
  1. Why is insulin so much more expensive in the US than Europe? Test strips are slightly more expensive.

    Posted by Homer Jones |
  2. This only goes to prove that the prices of these items are massively inflated to begin with.

    Posted by Joe |
  3. What about the price of other stips? Also is all insulin Humalog and lantus going to be that low in price? Thank you

    Posted by Dot Rometti |
  4. Had bought Lantus in Canada for half the USA price. Also they don’t require a prescription for same.

    Posted by fatherbill |
  5. I would like to know what the price of the byetta pen cost I pay 20dollars INS.pays rest. Montly thank you

    Posted by Claudia burke |
  6. It’s about time!
    Thank you Walmart!

    Posted by Rose |
  7. I am glad for this. I don’t have insurance (husband lost job with insurance and now has a job where full time workers are labeled part time so not to have to offer insurance) and until the Affordable Care Act state health insurance exchanges opens up Jan 2014 where we can buy an affordable policy, we are stuck paying for everything ourselves. A lot of companies give you free meters- I have about 5- but only because you are stuck (no pun intended) buying their overpriced test strips. If you test as often as doctors and diabetes educators recommend, you better have a LOT of money on hand.

    Posted by Terri |
  8. I am all for cheeper testing but I would also be into smaller vials. There is no way I can use up a 10 ml ampule of Lantus in a month before it goes bad. Why not start having smaller vials (5ml, say) that are more in step with the individual diabetic than huge reservoirs for use in a hospital, clinic or ward? I always hate discarding the bulk of my insulin bottle(6 ml or more sometimes!) which I never get to use, or can’t use as I worry that it’s lost its potency.

    Posted by Bob Watt |
  9. I am really glad to see that walmart is doing this. I’ve had type 1 diabetes for 30 years now (since the age of 3) and I have seen nothing but a steady increase in the price of insulin and diabetes supplies. As someone who needs insulin to live, I find this frightening. For me, what Walmart is offering is good in a pinch should I, say, lose my insulin while traveling or run out of test strips. What they are offering would give me the ability to keep myself alive until I could get home or in touch with my endo. However, they will only be offering R and NPH insulins; I’ve not used those since I was about 14. At this time, they cannot offer Humalog or Novolog (the more commonly-used rapid-acting insulins) because Lilly and Novonordisk still hold the exclusive rights to those.

    Posted by Type1 |
  10. Walmart should certainly be commended for taking such a step to work with their suppliers and identify ways to lower costs and pass those savings to the customer. Most times, business will look for ways to reduce costs but maintain the price as a means to keep their profits from shrinking. We see more of this approach with cereals, OJ, and detergents, where the packages are smaller but the price remains the same. I am an insulin dependent diabetic, and each test strip costs an average of .75 to $1. Of course, the meter is given for free, the profit money is in the need to continue buying the test strips. The insulin I take, which remains the same size, same product (Humalog)continues to go up in price to a level, where I now sometimes skip a meal so as to avoid using insulin and extend my supply.
    - Here’s a concept: why don’t all these different manufacturers work together and come to an agreement to standardize the test strips? That would permit the test strips to be used by many different glucose test monitors, not just the one they manufacture? Because it is all about the money. I have been listening to ‘the cure’ is almost here for more than 20 years now, and they are always so close. Yet, it just never seems to be found. It is sad to think but realistic to recognize that there is no reason for any medical company to find a cure for not just diabetes but for any disease or illness. There isn’t any money in it for them.
    - thank you Walmart for getting your suppliers to the table and getting them to put profit not so high on the agenda; I hope it will help serve as a model for others vendors to follow.

    Posted by Louis S |
  11. Byetta pen costs arround $350 for the uninsured! What’s Wally World going to do to help us?

    Posted by Jon |
  12. I just read Bob Watt’s post. I use Reli-on Humilin 70/30. I use 10ml bottles, eight of them a month and am happy to hear the already cheap price of this insulin at Wal-Mart may be even cheaper. This insulin has never went bad on me. My doctor gave me a choice of Lantus or Humilin. Having used Lantus in the past I chose Humilin because I didn’t care for Lantus. The humilin doesn’t have to be refrigerated while your using a bottle as the lantus if I remember correctly does. I do refrigerate the bottles until I start using one. I’m posting this in hopes Mr Watt may read it. I’m passing this info on in hopes he might see it and talk to his doctor about weither he could change to Humilin and maybe eliminate any waste of insulin he has been experincing. I’ve been paying a $42 co-pay with AARP prescription coverage.70ml witout the insurance would have cost me $174.16 which figures out to $24.88 for 10ml. So Wal-Mart has been charging that price already for some time now.

    Posted by Richard Lawton |
  13. Well not all test strips are created equal. Just like any other product there are good and bad brands.

    Some test strips like Onetouc Ultra and Freestyle are more accurate using less blood.

    Steve

    Posted by Steve |
  14. I am not sure that cheaper is always better when it comes to diabetes testing supplies. What are the accuracy levels in this meter? I once had felt that testing strips are extremely over priced until I toured a manufacturing facility and saw the machines and technologies that go into making sure that these strips are as accurate as possible.

    So, it makes me think, for $0.18 per strip, what sort of accuracy testing is done with these?

    Posted by Chris Stocker |
  15. I did some research on test meters to find out the accuracy is about + or - 15% and in blood testing labs it was not a lot better + or - 12%. I also found an article stating the government was going to make them tighten this up. I found a lot of information on diabetes that made me mad. Its all about money for them. Maybe if they quit giving millions of dollars of samples to doctors they could sell it a little cheaper.

    Posted by LeRoy |
  16. Regarding Chris STocker:

    Yes , on the surface price may be indicative of quality but not always.

    The Japanese have consistently provided high volume high tech products at extremely good accuracy and quality.

    The key is to apply ingenuity, engineering and get the volume as high as possible enabling quality and profit.

    Witness, VCR’s, DVD’s, digital cameras, cell phones et all.

    While America was building million dollar studio vcrs at 100 a year, Japan figured out how to build VCR’s with all the miniaturized technology of the Ampex studio monster and make available at sub initially sub $ 1000 and now a couple of hundred dollars or less.

    I believe same applies to diabetic test strips and I am fed up with all the sophistry, stalling and overcharging.

    Posted by jim snell |
  17. I purchase my test strips from , they have some pretty cool options that are much cheaper than me purchasing from a bunch of different spots on the web. I’m on a plan with them for 41 bucks a month, 150 test strips, got a free meter(true balance) and i get to talk to a CDE whenever i need to. Can’t beat that. I like the stress ball it came with too haha.

    Posted by Ben |
  18. My son has had diabetes since he was 2 (he’s now 29) and has had no health insurance since college. I have been buying his insulin from Canada. The prescription is at our local Walmart for “security”. I may have to pay for shipping and it may take a week or so, but a vial of Humalog is $48 and Lantus is $127. Just checked with Walmart and Humalog is $162.84 and Lantus is $152.84. Somebody is making big bucks! Can’t something be done??

    Posted by Traveling Granny |
  19. TravGranny, where are you buying Humalog from Canada? My previous go-to Canadian website now fills Humalog through a U.S. affiliate and the price is just as ridiculous as it is here.

    Posted by Leslie |
  20. I went out on web and looked at prices advertised on for diabetic test strips and note the following:

    Well after checking and looking at True track strips - here is what I noticed:

    Amazon - 100 Strips $ 20.38

    Walmart 100 Strips $ 49.99

    Walmart 50 Strips $ 24.97

    ADW 100 Strips $ 29.00

    ADW 50 Strips $ 14.00

    ADW FreeStyle 50 Strips $ 30.05
    100 Strips $ 60

    There are also a number of verstions of the True Track meters and strips with varying prices.

    Good Luck. I need to test one of these new guys and strips asap.

    Posted by jim snell |
  21. I have a prescription for 9 lantus every 3 months (that lasts). I use 50 units/day and 6 Humalog every 3 months (I run out in about 6 weeks. I have been using novolin R from walmart once I run out of the fast acting. The cost is $24.88/vial and lasts around 1 week. I only pay 60/3 months for all name brand drugs and test strips so it is quite good insurance I have through my wifes employer, she is a teacher. If I did not have that I would just use the novolin 70/30 and occasional R it would cost me around $100/mo. You do need to really pay attention to low BS when you self prescribe and adjust your insulin. I find Low BSs are a problem when I do that.

    Posted by KevinHidden |
  22. I have had juvenile diabetes for 50 yrs,diagnosed at 9 yrs. on 9/25/62. You would not believe the cost just to maintain a normal co-existence! For the past 4 yrs. I have volunteered for clinical studies on long term insulin, for both Novo-Nordisk and Eli Lilly. The great part is the fact that I figure that I have had it for so long that I want to give back to other diabetics. The best part is that I get my insulin free during the study, also my machine and strips, pens, syringes, needles, alcohol swabs, and on the Novo study I would get my glucose tabs. I am presently off the study until another comes available and was shocked at the price of Lantus & Apidra! I am hoping the next study might be one with the artificial pancreas- Wouldn’t that be AWESOME!!!

    Posted by Pamela Swanson |
  23. The absurd part of high insulin prices is that our legislators have sold out the American people (What’s new, right?) in favor of the pharmaceutical lobby and won’t grant generics. Please write your legislators and tell them your sick of people dying so they can get wined and dined and $ from lobbyists.

    Posted by keith |
  24. Was very happy to read about Wal-Mart’s insulin pricing of $24.88 each. Per phone call verification, a vial of lantus costs $167.88 each from my local Wal-Mart!!

    Posted by Steve |
  25. Even with my medication help, I still have to pay out 75.00 a month for Insulin. Plus now one of my Prescriptions are not going to be covered which is the blood pressure. So I am going to have to figure out how much this is going to effect the bottom line.
    It’s very disheartening when I am already paying out 0ver 150.00 a month for medicare and the suplemental insurence. And then…

    I have to pay for my strips at $18.00 for 100 strips. I test 4 - 5 times a day or more depending on what I am feeling. I don’t know about you but if I am in doubt about my blood sugar level, I am not going to just test my blood 3 times a day.

    So if this is true then, the cost of insulin to me should be less then $5 so we shall see.

    Posted by Leo |
  26. New zealand must be the cheapest country in the world for diabetes supplies we pay around 20 dollars for three months supply

    Posted by raymond |
  27. There is something terribly wrong when a single bottle of Humalog insulin at CVS Pharmacy is $174.29. Yes, that is One Hundred Seventy Four 29/100 for ONE vial, which on a Medtronic insulin pump lasts me for less than ten days.

    My insurance deductible is $4500, how does anybody afford this?

    Posted by Don |
  28. I agree about the insulin cost. I remember only paying $30 a bottle. Walmart just told me it is $194 per 10ml. The pharmasist could not even beleive it. Now that I am on Medicare, I pay 20% for insulin and insulin pump supplies - I don’t know either how anybody can afford this.

    Posted by Mary |
  29. Getting test strips at a lower cost is wonderful-Thank you for that! A huge cost to me is my insulin! I have been prescribed Lantus and Humalog! Over $300 each refill after my Ins pays their part! I’m single and having a very difficult time keeping up! Thanks for listening hoping you can help!

    Posted by Rita Harmon |
  30. I have diabetes 2 and I use insulin humalog 100 units/ML Vial and pay $282 for a month supply. I also use Lantus100 Units/ML VIAL for 282 for a month supply and BDInsulin Syringes at $18.00 for 1 box. Does Walmart have the insulin and needles and what are their cost? thank you very much

    Posted by Harriet Choinski |

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