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August 20, 2001

Insulin, Insurance/Costs

Question from :

Our insurance coverage is changing to a mandatory generic prescription plan. Is there a generic form of insulin (my husband is currently on Humulin N)? If not, do you have any suggestions on how to address this? The cost for formulary or brand drugs will be two to three times more than the cost for generic.


I have not heard about “mandatory generic” prescription plan. I understand where I practice, in order to save money, druggists are allowed to offer generic drugs, except if the physician writes in the letters “daw” (which stands for “dispense as written”). The purpose of this is to assure that if I believe a certain medication is the best, this is what must be supplied.


[Editor’s comment: In the USA, there is no generic form of insulin. Human NPH insulin is made by only two manufacturers, Eli Lilly and Novo-Nordisk. I suspect your husband will get whichever brand is on his insurance’s company’s formulary. Either brand is perfectly okay, but your husband may need adjust his dose a little bit if the brand is switched. Careful monitoring and close contact with his diabetes team should avoid any major problems.