Here’s How to Save on Basaglar, the Expensive Lantus “Generic”

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Tori Marsh
Tori Marsh, MPH, is on the Research Team at GoodRx, and is the resident expert on drug pricing and savings.
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Back in 2016, manufacturers Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim launched a new long-acting insulin, Basaglar, and marketed it as the cheaper alternative to blockbuster insulin Lantus. Basaglar contains the same kind of insulin as Lantus (insulin glargine), and while it is cheaper—Basaglar costs about 15% less than Lantus—it is still expensive, with a cash price of around $450 for a 30-day supply.

Here’s what you need to know to save on Basaglar.

First, what is Basaglar used for?

Basaglar is a long-acting insulin used to improve blood sugar control in adults with diabetes types 1 and 2.

Basaglar is sold as a carton of five 3 ml kwikpens. Dosing is individualized and determined by your doctor, but most people will inject Basaglar once daily. Side effects include low-blood sugar, allergic reactions, injection site reactions, itching and rash.

Why is there no generic Basaglar?

Oddly enough, some consider Basaglar a generic. Technically, Basaglar contains the same insulin as Lantus, but because insulins are derived from living cells, they have properties that are not truly replicable. That means that even though Basaglar is similar to Lantus, it’s still subject to an expensive approval process.

Because of the high cost of producing insulin, even when biosimilar versions like Basaglar are produced, they are sold for only about 20% less than the original drug, compared to standard generics which are sold at 80% less.

Savings Tip #1: Use your insurance

The best way to save on Basaglar is to use your insurance. Basaglar is covered by most insurance plans, but you may need to submit a prior authorization form or complete step therapy before receiving coverage for your drug.

If you find that Basaglar isn’t covered by your insurance plan, ask your doctor about an appeal. The exact process will depend on your insurance, but often requires that you work with your doctor to submit an appeal.

Savings Tip #2: Pay as little as $5 with a manufacturer coupon

Manufacturer Eli Lilly offers a manufacturer coupon for insured patients to save on Basaglar.

Basaglar Savings Program
Program website www.basaglar.com/en/savings-support#savings
Phone number 1-855-282-4888
Savings Pay as little as $5 per month, with a maximum monthly savings of $150.
How to get the discount Enroll and download your savings card online.
Restrictions The program is for commercially-insured patients only.

 

Savings Tip #3: Apply for a patient assistance program

Eli Lilly also offers a patients assistance program for uninsured patients.

Lilly TruAssist
Program website www.lillycares.com/
Phone number 1-800-545-6962
Savings You can receive your medication at no cost.
How to get the discount Download and fill out your part of the application. Then ask your doctor to help you submit it.
Restrictions You will need a valid prescription and proof of your gross monthly household income. Contact the program to see if you are eligible.

Savings Tip #4: Try the new Lilly Diabetes Solution Center

Manufacturer Eli Lilly created the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center to help patients find ways to save on their insulin. Read more about the program here, or call the hotline at 1-833-808-1234.

Savings Tip #5: Talk to your doctor about alternatives

There are a couple of other alternatives to Basaglar that you might want to speak with your doctor about. Lantus, Toujeo and Levemir are all long-acting insulins that have been found to be just as safe and effective as Basaglar.  

While the cash prices of these options may not be significantly less expensive than Basaglar, depending on your insurance coverage, some might cost less under your plan. How will you know what is covered? Call your insurer and ask, “What’s my preferred insulin?”.

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