If you’re filling Humira for rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease every month, you’ve likely experienced some sticker shock at the pharmacy. The average cash price for a 30-day supply of Humira is over $5,500, and prices only continue to increase. In fact, the price for Humira has nearly doubled since 2014. Not good.
So when will a cost-saving generic be available? Maybe never. Luckily, there are some ways for you to save. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Humira?
Humira is a popular drug used to treat autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and plaque psoriasis.
According to our friends at Iodine, 60% of users rated that Humira is worth it, but many noted that the side effects can be a hassle. Common side effects include upper airway infection, headache, rash, sinus infection, nausea, stomach pain, and blood in urine.
When will generic Humira be available?
Unfortunately, maybe never.
Many drugs that treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, like Humira and Enbrel, are biologic drugs, which means that they are made out of living cells. This makes them notoriously difficult to replicate exactly, which is what you would need to do to make generic options for people trying to save.
In lieu of generic alternatives, the FDA has urged competitors to manufacturer biosimilars, drugs that are similar to biologics already approved by the FDA. In fact, two biosimilars for Humira have been approved, but are not yet available. (More on that below.) However, unlike a generic drug, biosimilars are not interchangeable with the original brand drugs, and are still quite expensive.
Savings Tip #1: Use your insurance
The best way to save on Humira is to use your insurance. Yes, Humira is covered by most insurance plans, but there is a catch. Most plans require that patients submit a prior authorization form or complete step therapy before they will cover the drug. You can learn more about these restrictions here, but in essence, they make getting your drug more complicated.
If you find that Humira 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 letter.
Savings Tip #2: Pay as little as $5 per month with a savings card
Manufacturer AbbVie offers a savings card to help insured patients afford Humira.
|Savings||Your copay can be reduced to as little as $5.|
|How to get the discount||Register for the myHUMIRA program online to download and print a card.|
|Restrictions||The program is for commercially-insured patients only.|
Savings Tip #3: Apply for a patient assistance program
AbbVie also offers a patient assistance program for uninsured patients.
|Savings||Your prescription may be free if you qualify.|
|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: Talk to your doctor about alternatives
Unfortunately, most alternatives used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease like Cimzia, Enbrel, Remicade and Simponi are biologics, and are just as expensive as Humira. Two Humira biosimilars, Amjevita and Cyltezo, have been approved by the FDA, but they are not yet available.
While you wait for the biosimilars, speak with your doctor to see if there are any affordable alternatives to Humira you can try. This is especially important if you find yourself on the hook for a high copay, or you are stuck in the deductible phase of your plan. Your doctor may be able to help you find an alternative that is more affordable with your insurance.
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