Retail giant Walmart has announced that it will sell a lower-cost version of NovoLog insulin under its diabetes care brand ReliOn, the result of a partnership with Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of NovoLog insulin.
For the last couple of years, Walmart has offered low-cost insulin options — priced at $25 per vial — based on older formulations of what’s known simply as human insulin (Regular, NPH, and 70/30 mix). But in the United States today, the most widely recommended types of insulin are what are known as insulin analogs, meaning that their molecules look slightly different from insulin produced naturally by the pancreas. These tweaks to the insulin molecule allow it to act differently in the body, such as by having a longer or shorter duration of action. All of the best known rapid-acting and long-acting insulin brands in the United States are insulin analogs.
To get cutting-edge diabetes news, strategies for blood glucose management, nutrition tips, healthy recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletters!
Walmart’s ReliOn NovoLog insulin
The new ReliOn version of NovoLog (insulin aspart), a rapid-acting insulin, will be priced at $72.88 per vial or $85.88 per FlexPen. According to Walmart, these prices represent savings of 58% to 75% compared with insulin analogs currently on the market. The new product is available in Walmart pharmacies immediately, and will be available in Sam’s Club pharmacies in mid-July. A valid prescription from a doctor is required to buy this product.
Walmart framed its latest insulin offering as a way to address the ongoing insulin affordability crisis in the United States. “We know many people with diabetes struggle to manage the financial burden of this condition, and we are focused on helping by providing affordable solutions,” said Cheryl Pegus, MD, Walmart’s executive vice president of Health & Wellness, in the press release. “We also know this is a condition that disproportionately impacts underserved populations.”
Diabetes groups offered praise for Walmart’s new insulin option. “We welcome all affordable solutions that make diabetes management more accessible to millions of Americans living with diabetes,” said Tracey D. Brown, chief executive officer of the American Diabetes Association, in the press release. “We encourage everyone to ask their healthcare provider questions to better understand what the right and affordable treatment is for their unique medical needs.”
In a separate press release, the type 1 advocacy and research group JDRF stated: “The rising cost of insulin is a fundamental issue faced by those living with diabetes, and JDRF applauds this new effort. While today’s announcement is a step toward making insulin affordable for everyone, more needs to be done. JDRF will continue to urgently drive long-term efforts and push for action from manufacturers, health plans, employers, and the government to remove accessibility barriers.”