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Walmart launches low-cost private label insulin brand

Walmart said the new brand will "revolutionize the access and affordability to diabetes care" by offering significant price savings on the crucial medication.

WASHINGTON — Walmart on Tuesday announced the launch of the first-ever private brand of analog insulin, promising a lower-cost option on a crucial drug used by millions of diabetes patients. 

The Arkansas-based company said the new brand will "revolutionize the access and affordability to diabetes care" by offering significant price savings on the drug.

It said the analog insulin will be available through Walmart’s private ReliOn brand with vials costing $73 and a FlexPen costing customers $86. Walmart said its products and prices will save customers between 58% to 75% off the cash price of branded analog insulin products.

The new brand label, ReliOn NovoLog Insulin, is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, and will be available nationwide at Walmart pharmacies this week and Sam’s Club pharmacies in mid-July.

“We know many people with diabetes struggle to manage the financial burden of this condition, and we are focused on helping by providing affordable solutions," said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President, Walmart Health & Wellness. "With ReliOn NovoLog insulin, we’re adding a high-quality medication for diabetes to the already affordable ReliOn line of products and continuing our commitment to improve access and lowering cost of care."

Walmart said ReliOn NovoLog is a rapid-acting insulin analog used to control high blood sugar in adults and children with diabetes. Customers will need a prescription in order to purchase the products and should always consult with their doctor regarding their diabetes management.

“Diabetes often comes with high medical costs, estimated around $9,601 per person per year. We welcome all affordable solutions that make diabetes management more accessible to millions of Americans living with diabetes," said Tracey D. Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Diabetes Association. "We encourage everyone to ask their healthcare provider questions to better understand what the right and affordable treatment is for their unique medical needs."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2020 reported 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes or about 34.2 million people. About 88 million American adults are pre-diabetic.

The CDC claims doctors will prescribe the best insulin for patients based on the factors of activeness, diet, blood sugar management, age and how long it takes someone's body to absorb insulin. The health agency said someone who has type 1 diabetes will likely take a combination of insulin while some people with type 2 diabetes will also need to take insulin.

It added that different brands of insulin vary in onset, peak time, and duration, even if they’re the same type, such as rapid-acting.