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Wal-Mart launches discounted insulin, but patients are still struggling to cope with high prices

As Wal-Mart advertises its efforts to make healthcare more affordable, the company reached an agreement with drugmaker Novo Nordisk to provide a discounted version of its simulated fast-acting insulin. Wal-Mart plans to provide its own-brand version of its Novolog insulin, priced at approximately US$73 per bottle or US$86 per insulin pen, which is 58% to 75% lower than the current cash price.

Although it may help some people, it still hasn’t solved the fundamental problem of the overall price of insulin soaring in recent years.According to a Senate report issued in early 2021Between 2014 and 2019, the cost of Novolog FlexPen increased by more than 70% in 2018, reaching $558, reflecting the price increase of competitors.

Walmart launches its own brand diabetes product line Back to 2012, Including test strips, blood glucose meters and over-the-counter insulin brands, priced at $25.It first provided the private-label version of Novartis Novartis insulin, which is an older human insulin with less predictable absorption rate and can Bringing challenges to patients who are transitioning From different types of insulin.

The newer product ReliOn NovoLog is an insulin analogue designed to mimic the natural pattern of human insulin release and is generally easier to absorb. The patient must have a prescription to get it.

Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president for health, said that at least 3 million Wal-Mart customers have diabetes. Past research has shown Rising costs and high deductible plans have caused some patients to give up the care they need, such as reducing the number of tests or buying fewer test strips.

“We hope this price point will improve, and is expected to revolutionize the availability and affordability of insulin,” Peggs said at a press conference on Monday.

Like Wal-Mart’s other healthcare products, these products are designed to be used by patients without comprehensive insurance. In recent years, the company has begun to establish a series of health clinics that provide cash-paid primary care, dental and other preventive services at a price as low as $40 per visit.Although it still has plans for some new clinics in progress, many leaders behind this work Has left the company.

Walmart recently Complete its planned acquisition Telemedicine startup MeMD will add virtual emergency care and psychiatric visits to supplement its face-to-face services.

Photo credit: eromaze, getty Images

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