Walmart and Novo Nordisk Produce Affordable Private Brand Insulin Analog

Walmart Pharmacy
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People with diabetes are saddled with a disease that has no known cure yet. In addition, lifetime maintenance medicine for diabetes is expensive. Diabetic people cannot process and use the glucose they get from food properly. Blood glucose (blood sugar) is the body’s primary source of energy.

The pancreas produces insulin, and there can be mitigating circumstances why it cannot produce enough insulin. The hormone helps the glucose get into the cells to use it for energy, but if the body cannot make enough or cannot use the insulin well, the glucose stays in the blood. There are different types of diabetes, which have other causes. One common problem they share is too much glucose in the blood. Diabetes treatments include various medications, but some need to combine them with insulin.

Common types of diabetes

Most diabetics either have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

With Type 1 diabetes, there is a problem with your immune system. The body attacks and destroys the pancreatic cells that produce insulin. Without the insulin from the pancreas, the glucose remains in your bloodstream. In some patients, the cause of Type 1 diabetes is genetic. But the attack on the immune system can come from a virus.

For people with Type 2 diabetes, the body either cannot produce insulin or utilize insulin as expected. As a result, the body becomes resistant to insulin. Therefore, the pancreas works double-time to produce enough insulin to overcome the body’s resistance.

Cost of Type 1 diabetes

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People with Type 1 diabetes need insulin shots because of the minimal or lack of natural insulin production. Unfortunately, as stated, there is no known cure for diabetes, so people living with diabetes will have to use their prescribed medicine for life. 

Medication for Type 2 diabetes is not that costly, at least for those who have regular income and insurance. However, it is still expensive for people who barely make ends meet. On the other hand, according to WebMD, people who have Type 1 diabetes spend about $2,500 (with insurance).  

Insulin Analog
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Good news for insulin-dependent patients

The insulin-related expenses of patients with Type 1 diabetes will be slashed dramatically for many patients, with the announcement by Walmart of their plans to produce and sell a new private brand of insulin analog.

Insulin analog is human insulin sub-group, grown in a laboratory but more efficient than human insulin. It is genetically altered so that the body can use it rapidly or uniformly.

According to the company’s official website, Walmart’s insulin analog will be affordable and beneficial for patients, even those without insurance.

The company announced that their project is in partnership with Novo Nordisk. They will introduce FlexPen, which will sell for $85.88. The insulin analog in vials will sell for $72.88. The products will be available under Walmart’s ReliOn brand. The brand’s name is ReliOn NovoLog. It is a combination of ReliOn, the Walmart brand for its products for diabetes, while NovoLog is insulin from Novo Nordisk. According to the company’s press release, customers can save over $100 per vial or more than $200 per package of FlexPens.

Novo Nordisk, based in Denmark, is a leading healthcare company that produces several innovative biological medicines that are more affordable and accessible to patients worldwide.

What is insulin analog?

Insulin analog is similar but better than the insulin produced by the body. Instead, it mimics the body’s natural pattern of insulin release. There are two types of analog insulin: rapid-acting injected insulin and long-lasting analog insulin. The synthetically made insulins have minor amino acid or structural changes that provide them with unique characteristics when injected. Upon absorption, their action on the cells resembles human insulin, but the absorption is more predictable.

When using the rapid-acting insulin analog, it enters the bloodstream within minutes after injection. The injection window is within five to ten minutes after eating. The peak action of the insulin is within 60 to 120 minutes. After four hours, the action of the insulin analog fades. Rapid-action insulin analog type is an adequate replacement for bolus insulin. They are given at mealtimes and for correcting high blood sugar levels.

Long-lasting insulin analog acts after two hours, unlike the rapid-acting insulin that takes effect after a few minutes. In addition, long-lasting insulin is designed to have a uniform act, eliminating peak activity periods. One dose of long-lasting insulin analog can last for 24 hours, although your doctor can recommend two doses a day according to your needs.

Benefits of Walmart’s insulin analog

ReliOn NovoLog, which is already available at Walmart pharmacies, will help provide a more accessible and affordable drug for Type 1 diabetes, which affects about 1.6 million Americans. The projection is that by 2050, 5 million Americans will have Type 1 diabetes. 

With the release of ReliOn NovoLog, Walmart will be a significant provider of a drug that many Americans need. Moreover, the lower price will help people with diabetes who cannot afford the higher deductions on their health insurance.

This is welcome news to people living with Type 1 diabetes as insulin prices continue to rise. It will help many people, particularly the low-income individuals who are still suffering from the economic downturn due to the Covid-19 pandemic.