One of the only ways to treat diabetes type 1 and 2 are through insulin injections, like Lantus (insulin glargine), that help to control blood sugar. Unfortunately, doctors consistently report low levels of adherence to insulins, Lantus included. The main reason? The cost.
Lantus is a prime example of an expensive insulin—averaging around $274 per month, it is unaffordable for many. But GoodRx is here to help.
Here is some information on Lantus, and how you can save
Why are insulins, and Lantus, so expensive?
The case of insulin prices is an interesting one. In the 1920s, insulin was extracted from cattle pancreas, which led to negative reactions in some patients. So, scientists made it better. In the 1970’s a new type of insulin was developed using a technique called recombinant DNA technology. This technique uses human DNA to create the insulin needed and ultimately reduced complications.
But the catch? After the new insulin with human DNA was created, the older and more affordable insulin was taken off the market in the US. Since then, the demand for diabetes medications has increased, and the cost of insulin has skyrocketed, leaving many paying an anywhere from $300-$900 per month for their life-saving injection.
How popular is Lantus?
Lantus is currently the most popular insulin, a class of medications that are used to lower blood sugar and treat diabetes type 1 and 2.
Lantus was developed by Sanofi in 2000, and for many years was one of Sanofi’s top-grossing drugs. However, in recent years, with the development of other insulins, Sanofi has seen a decline in Lantus sales. While we haven’t seen the effects of this decline quite yet, it could mean that Sanofi will need to reduce the price for Lantus to stay competitive. Stay tuned.
Does Lantus have a generic?
Although Sanofi’s patent on Lantus expired in 2015, as of December 2017, Lantus still does not have a generic equivalent. But there is good news—Lantus does have a biosimilar, Basaglar.
What’s a biosimilar you ask? Well, without getting too technical, biosimilars are basically the generic product of a biologic. But since these medications are made out of living cells, they are slightly different and aren’t deemed therapeutically equivalent, or interchangeable, by the FDA. For more information about biosimilars, see our previous blog post here.
Lantus or Basaglar?
Basaglar is a biosimilar to Lantus and has the same active ingredient—insulin glargine. But is there a difference between the two?
In short, not really. Like Lantus, Basaglar is a long-acting insulin that generally lasts for about 24 hours. The only big difference is the price, as Basaglar is about 15% less expensive than Lantus.
Are there any other alternatives to Lantus?
There are a couple of other options to Lantus or its biosimilar Basaglar. While the cash prices of these may not significantly less expensive, depending on your insurance coverage, some alternative insulins might be more affordable.
- Toujeo is another insulin glargine injection and has been found to be just as safe and effective as Lantus. The difference? Toujeo is more concentrated at 300 units/ml (versus 100 units/ml for Lantus) and is only approved to treat patients 18 years or older. However, Toujeo is more expensive than Lantus as cash prices average around $347 for a 30-day supply.
- Levemir has a different active ingredient than Lantus, insulin detemir, but is similar in that is provides all-day blood sugar control. Levemir is actually more expensive than Lantus, as cash prices average around $497, but if your insurance covers it over Lantus, it may be more affordable for you.
Lantus still works best for me, how can I save?
- Save with a manufacturer coupon or patient assistance program. Sanofi offers a manufacturer coupon program and patient assistance program for patients with and without insurance coverage. The Sanofi Rx Savings Card can reduce your out-of-pocket cost to as little as $0 per month, while Sanofi Patient Connection can help you receive your medication at no cost if you qualify. Check our Lantus savings tips page for more information on these programs.
- Use a GoodRx Lantus coupon. GoodRx offers discounts for Lantus online, which can usually save at least 15% off the full retail price. GoodRx has also partnered with pharmacy benefit manager Express Scrips to lower the cost of select brand-name drugs by up to 50%. This program, called Inside Rx, can reduce your out of pocket cost for Lantus to around $275 with a coupon. Read our post here for more information on Inside Rx.
- Try to appeal your coverage. If you have insurance and your plan doesn’t cover Lantus, ask your doctor about submitting an appeal, Some plans require prior authorizations—meaning you need permission from your insurance plan and a special request from your doctor before you can fill your prescription. If you have insurance, call your provider and ask how to get this process started.
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