ReliOn Insulin and Other Products at Walmart

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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  • Homer Jones

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

  • Joe

    This only goes to prove that the prices of these items are massively inflated to begin with.

    • edward brady


  • Dot Rometti

    What about the price of other stips? Also is all insulin Humalog and lantus going to be that low in price? Thank you

  • fatherbill

    Had bought Lantus in Canada for half the USA price. Also they don’t require a prescription for same.

  • Claudia burke

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

  • Rose

    It’s about time!
    Thank you Walmart!

  • Terri

    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.

  • Bob Watt

    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.

  • Type1

    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.

  • Louis S

    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.

  • Jon

    Byetta pen costs arround $350 for the uninsured! What’s Wally World going to do to help us?

  • Richard Lawton

    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.

  • Steve

    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.


  • Chris Stocker

    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?

  • LeRoy

    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.

  • jim snell

    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.

  • Ben

    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.

  • Traveling Granny

    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??

    • ash street

      Hillary or Donald, which will it be??

  • Leslie

    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.

  • jim snell

    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.

    • ash street

      what web site did you visit?? . Today I just brought a bottle of 100 Relion prime strips for $10 at WalMart.

      • EdjuCat

        Are you sure it was for 100? ReliOn Prime test strips at Walmart are $9.00 for 50, and $17.88 for 100 (2 containers of 50). I don’t know what I’d do without their affordable diabetic supplies!

        • ash street

          your’e right. Still a LOT cheaper than Accucheck, and generally pretty close in readings.

  • KevinHidden

    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.

  • Pamela Swanson

    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!!!

  • keith

    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.

    • ash street

      For what it’s worth, unfortunatly.

  • Steve

    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!!

    • Kim Morley

      You can have your dr. Change your lantus to relion n. The price is 24$ per 10 ml bottle. My units stayed the same. You don’t even have to have a script

      • ash street

        Watch out when you switch from Lantus to Relion N…these are NOT the same. Relion N is the same as the old NPH, which I used for years, dealing with its uncertain onset of action.Its length of action is not the same as Lantus either.When the dr switched me to Levemir the transition was almost seamless, but the activity profile was much smoother.Fewer unexpected crashes.

  • Leo

    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.

  • raymond

    New zealand must be the cheapest country in the world for diabetes supplies we pay around 20 dollars for three months supply

    • Angie Roebuck

      From what pharmacy…I went to get my humalog and lantus today they wanted 800.00…I’m out so I guess I don’t take anything

  • Don

    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?

  • Mary

    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.

  • Rita Harmon

    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!

    • Andrew Garcia

      I take the same thing. I can’t afford that either. The Novolin R at Walmart works just as good.

  • Harriet Choinski

    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

    • Anne Dakan

      RelIOn diabetes products from Wal-Mart……. I got a sheet from the doc.with approximate costs, after my last hospitalization.
      ReliOn Prime Blood Glucose Meter – approximately $17.00
      ReliOn Prime Blood Glucose Test Strips – $9.00 – $10.00 per 50 count
      ReliOn Lancing Device – $6.00 – $7.00
      ReliOn 33G Micro Thin Lancets – $4.00 – 5.00 per 100 count
      Sorry, no prices for syringes or insulin, but, undoubtedly, the best prices around. I was told that my insulin will be $147.00 at Wal-Mart, per vial, $300.00 to $400.00 per vial everywhere else.

      If you’re disillusioned by the ACA, don’t buy the insurance. If you are low income, but can’t qualify for free healthcare,and are responsible for all the expenses of a disabled person, that is too young for Social Security, but you are on Social Security, you may be exempt from the tax penalty for not buying insurance.
      Personally, I think the ACA is total madness, created by drunken spider monkeys on LSD. One thing I won’t do, is pay a $6,000.00 deductible, insurance premiums AND co-pays. If I have one hospitalization every year for three years, that’s putting my family $6,000.00 in debt, every year to the tune of $18,000.00. Plus my insurance payment and co-pays. That’s not healthcare, that’s indentured servitude.
      Most low income households can qualify for free or lower hospital care. If you don’t pay the bills, change your phone number and wait it out. Most providers will call a bill uncollectable in three to six years. If you REALLY have an ongoing crisis or many hospitalizations for multiple problems, I guess medical bankruptcy is always an option, if you don’t think you will live long enough to ever pay off such a huge debt.

  • Cool Breeze

    Hey now, Been a Diabetic for 40 yrs. now, since 1974. Seen alot of things. Insulin $3.49 a bottle, before blood sugar meters, The cure for Diabetes still waiting. LOL “There’s no money in the well and the dead”. Thanks Wal-Mart. Peace

  • Me Mickey

    Remember our Democratic friends in DC with the ACA they gave, FORCED US ON, when time to Vote give them the BOOT, THIS WILL SHOW THE DIABETIC VOTE

    • eSage

      And you not being able to afford your insulin anymore as the Republicans dismantle ACA and let health insurance companies rack up 1000% profits. One thing you can guarantee about the GOP…when the say they’re for all Americans, they don’t count anyone making less than a million a year as American. It will help reduce the number of diabetic people, though, as most of them will DIE from lack of proper medical care. But that solves other Republican problems because it reduces the Democratic voting base, so they’re for it.,

  • Patty

    Remember our R friends in DC When they dismantle ACA and the poor and sick cannot get affordable care. When we go back to no health care if you have per existing conditions, no keeping your college age kids on your policy.

    For this year’s survey on overall health care, The Commonwealth Fund ranked the U.S. dead last .

    1. United Kingdom
    2. Switzerland
    3. Sweden
    4. Australia
    5. Germany & Netherlands (tied)
    7. New Zealand & Norway (tied)
    9. France
    10. Canada
    11. United States

    It’s fairly well accepted that the U.S. is the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but many continue to falsely assume that we pay more for healthcare because we get better health (or better health outcomes). The evidence, however, clearly doesn’t support that view.

    But keep your delusions Me Mikey.

    • Joyce Edwards

      If our healthcare is NOT better, than WHY to a lot of foreigners come here for treatment??? As to the ACA it isn’t better, (but keep on drinking that Kool-Aid), All I know is before the ACA I didn’t have a prescription drug DEDUCTIBLE now I do, also with my insurance paying less on my healthcare cost………doesn’t sound better to me!!!

      • gardoglee

        Joyce, the insurance you can buy with or without ACA was being designed long before ACA was even proposed. Sit in the room with the insurance actuaries, as I have done, and you will being to understand why the healthcare insurance companies found that the products they were selling were not what they wanted to sell. They don’t want to sell a product to cover all your healthcare, they want to sell a product more like auto insurance, designed to cover unexpected large expenses that occur infrequently throughout a population. They do not want to sell product to cover everyday expenses like recurring monthly prescriptions. That’s not because of ACA, but rather because what insurance companies sell is the assumption of some risk for individuals by distributing the risk over a population in which the loss will occur only for a small number of population members.
        Or in other words, your prescription drug deductible was increased because your insurance company doesn’t want to sell you an all-the-prescription-drugs-you-can-swallow-with-no-coinsurance-plan. That has nothing whatsoever to do with ACA.

      • Anne Dakan

        Don’t forget, when you’re wealthy, you can afford to buy the very best. They do their research, pick the doctors with the best reputations and best outcomes. They don’t just come here and call the first doctor in the phone book and hope for the best. DUH!!! They can go anywhere in the world and do the same thing

  • Rhvonda

    Thank you so very much I was unable to get my insulin just cost to much and I cannot get insurance bless you all

  • kelly

    Joyce, Congress could pass laws requiring drug companies to price drugs the same way that the drugs are priced in Europe.
    Congress could also pass a law to stop drug companies from paying generic manufacturers money so they will not produce generic versions of drugs.
    These are two simple things that Congress could do to make drugs more affordable and also let the big drug companies make a profit.

  • Terry

    How long does a vial of Relion last, if using 60 units a day?

    • myschievousme

      I use from 40 to 50 units per day and a vial lasts almost 3 weeks.

    • eSage

      A vial holds 1,000 units of insulin. At 60 units/day, that works out to be a little over 16 days worth of insulin.

  • myschievousme

    motherall, not true. We have the highest health care costs because our insurance companies make the largest profits in the world. Same for pharma. Why else can I get a vial of insulin at walmart for 24.88 but at safeway for 268.00 a month. Who’s making the killing?

    • Keith Watson

      And how does that price difference happen without a monopoly in the medical industry?

  • myschievousme

    Thank you skip for that first hand account.

  • mike severson

    Check out Marks Marine Pharmacy – will ship to US.

  • Vince

    I think what you also have to factor in is that Europeans pay that extra cost in taxes. It’s not just that it is cheaper, it’s already paid for. So, everyone as a whole assumes the cost of everyone else’s health care as a whole, though to varying degrees depending on your income. I think the misconception is that things are cheaper for the sake of being cheaper when, in reality, everyone else is paying for it. I don’t know what system is better, but I do know people who game the system and get free/cheap health care because they don’t feel like working and take advantage of some government program simply because the people who are supposed to regulate it don’t feel like checking to make sure they genuinely qualify. It’s those people I don’t want my hard earned money to go to, but that’s the unfortunate part of the system. You have to accept the bad with the good.

    • Jojo

      Wrong, Drug companies charge just 12% for drugs in the EU, Americans pay full 100% to fund the research.

  • Kara Stiles

    This is a (very) long article, but at the end you’ll find instructions on how to use the walmart insulin (Regular, NPH and 70/30):

  • Amom2go

    I have been a diabetic also for over 40 years and am disgusted with the way that insulin has risen so much in pricing.. To me there’s no reason for it. Tis the same Humalog at 45 as it was at 18. If it wasn’t a problem then, why does the cost have to go up now? I have had discussions with diabetics who aren’t taking shots and even one who had a sister die because the family could not afford insulin; it’s just ridiculous. Years ago, we had no insurance and I had to go through a Canadian pharmacy for insulin. It was only $30 a bottle. Why would it be $300 here? It is our bodies and our lives we should have the option of going to a Canadian pharmacy ,if it’s going to be a difference between life and death ,without fear of repercussions because of that.

    • Robert RM Bagwell

      Ditto sister!

  • fred

    You hear a lot of negative things about Walmart. There are lots of good things and one of the wonderful things is the insulin products they provide at affordable prices and I would like to say THANK YOU.

  • EdjuCat

    The plural of company is companies, not company’s. Petty, I know. But jeez, that’s pretty bad.

  • bakonfreek

    Good, now I can go ahead and be not dead if health insurance does what people say it will do. Problem is going to be explaining to the specialist what my situation is. “Yeah, I am barely going to be able to afford this visit on top of my current prescription.” Given the prices, it looks like I’d be spending maybe $100 or $150 on a month’s supply but considering that currently a month’s supply of insulin would cost me $2,000 without proper insurance…I’m a college student, I have enough financial crap to struggle with.