Luckily, there are some ways to save. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Levemir for?
Levemir is a long-acting insulin used to improve blood sugar control in adults and children with diabetes types 1 and 2. Long-acting insulin products, also known as basal insulins, include other well-known brands like Lantus, Toujeo, Tresiba, and Basaglar. These insulins are absorbed slowly into the bloodstream and help patients control blood sugar between meals and overnight.
When will a generic Levemir be available?
Unfortunately, maybe never. Insulins are biologic drugs, which means they are made out of living cells, making it nearly impossible for manufacturers to create an exact replica of the drug. So, don’t hold your breath for a true generic version of Levemir. Instead, keep an eye out for a biosimilar, which is a very similar version of a biologic drug.
Because of the high cost of producing insulin, even when biosimilar versions like Basaglar are produced, they are often still expensive. Biosimilars are generally sold for only about 20% less than the original drug, compared to standard generics which are sold at 80% less.
For more information about biosimilars, see our previous blog post here.
Savings tip #1: Use your insurance
The best way to save on Levemir is to use your insurance. Yes, Levemir 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 Levemir 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 $25 with a savings card
Manufacturer Novo Nordisk offers a savings card to help insured patients afford Levemir.
Savings tip #3: Apply for a patient assistance program
Novo Nordisk also offers a patient assistance program for uninsured patients.
Savings tip #4: Talk to your doctor about alternatives
There are a couple of alternatives to Levemir that you may want to talk with your doctor about. First off, Lantus and the more affordable biosimilar, Basaglar, are both long-acting insulins used for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Lantus and Basaglar provide the same units of insulin per milliliter as Levemir. Toujeo, another long-acting insulin, provides three times as many units of insulin per milliliter as Levemir.
While the retail prices of these alternatives may not be significantly less expensive than Levemir, 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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