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Walmart launches low-cost, private-brand insulin for diabetes patients

A Walmart store sign is visible from Route 28, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, in Derry, N.H.shuttershock

Walmart unveiled Tuesday the first-ever private brand analog insulin, offering a steep discount on the prescription drug used to treat diabetes.

The retail giant said the new insulin, called NovoLog, is available only through its private ReliOn brand and is set to “revolutionize the access and affordability to diabetes care by offering customers a significant price savings without compromising quality.”

The brand includes analog insulin vials that sell for $72.88 and a FlexPen priced at $85.88. When not using insurance, that amounts to a savings of 58% and 75%, respectively, on the cash price of branded insulin products. Walmart estimates that would mean a savings of as much as $101 per branded vial of insulin or $251 per package of branded FlexPens.

“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,” Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president, Walmart Health & Wellness, said in a statement, citing that diabetes “disproportionately impacts underserved populations.”

NovoLog, a rapid-acting analog insulin, is used to control high blood sugar in adults and children with diabetes. A prescription is required to purchase it, and diabetes patients are cautioned to always consult their doctor regarding management of the condition.

About 34 million Americans—nearly 10% of the U.S. population—live with diabetes, the fastest-growing chronic disease in the country.

“Diabetes often comes with high medical costs, estimated around $9,601 per person per year,” Tracey D. Brown, chief executive officer of the American Diabetes Association, said in a statement. “We welcome all affordable solutions that make diabetes management more accessible to millions of Americans living with diabetes.”

The new NovoLog insulin injection, manufactured by Novo Nordisk, will be available in the U.S. in Walmart pharmacies this week and Sam’s Club pharmacies by mid-July.

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