New Lower-Cost Insulin Analog: ReliOn™ NovoLog®
Walmart announced its first-ever branded insulin analog, ReliOn™ NovoLog®, on Thursday, June 29. ReliOn NovoLog is a fast-acting injection that is used to treat adults and children with diabetes.1
The insulin – available only through Walmart’s private ReliOn brand – became available in US Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs in early July. It offers people living with diabetes a cheaper option to help manage their blood sugar levels.1
The high cost of diabetes
People with diabetes know all too well the financial burden of this chronic disease. According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diagnosed diabetes spend an average of $16,752 on medical costs each year. And about $9,000 of that is for direct treatment of their diabetes.2
In fact, insulin alone can cost upwards of $10,000 per person per year. And people with diabetes often have complications like foot infections and kidney damage that require hospital visits and more drugs. In addition to the high cost of treating diabetes and its complications, indirect costs from not being able to work can also have a big impact.2
Making diabetes treatment more affordable
This lower-cost insulin is intended to provide more accessible and affordable care for diabetes. Every ReliOn Novolog vial (10 mL) costs $72.88, and a package of 5 FlexPens® (3 milliliters each, 15 milliliters per box) costs $85.88. Walmart estimates that this saves customers between 58 and 75 percent on the purchase of insulin.1,3
Why are insulin drugs so expensive?
Over the years, insulin drug prices have skyrocketed. One reason for this is that only a few companies make insulin in the United States. These companies have been able to charge more without worrying too much about competitors making cheaper products.2
Another reason is that generic insulin is difficult and expensive to make. Insulin is what is known as a biologic. Biologics are drugs made from living cells. These cells can come from parts of the blood, proteins, viruses, or tissue. The process of making biologics turns these cells into drugs that can prevent, treat, and cure disease. But it is not easy or cheap.4
Things to know about ReliOn NovoLog
ReliOn NovoLog is an insulin analog. An analog is something that is “analogous” or similar to the original. Insulin analogs are lab-made to be like human insulin, but with some changes to make them work faster or more uniformly. ReliOn is manufactured by Novo Nordisk and works by controlling high blood sugar in adults and children with diabetes.1
Insulin dosing depends on factors like age, weight, physical activity, and more. If you have a change in weight, an illness, increased stress, or a change in your diet or physical activity, contact your doctor to make sure your insulin dose is still right for you. Do not change the type of insulin you take without talking with your doctor.
ReliOn NovoLog is a fast-acting injection. It is advised to eat a meal within 5 to 10 minutes of injection.1
Before beginning treatment for diabetes, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.
For more information, read the full prescribing information for ReliOn NovoLog.
Potential side effects of ReliOn NovoLog
Some side effects of ReliOn NovoLog may include:1
- Low blood sugar, which can feel like anxiety, irritability, dizziness, sweating, confusion, and headache
- Low potassium in your blood
- Injection site reactions
- Weight gain
- Swelling of the hands or feet
These are not all the possible side effects of ReliOn NovoLog. Talk to your doctor about what to expect or if you experience any changes that concern you during treatment with ReliOn NovoLog.
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