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April 14, 2004

Insulin, Insurance/Costs

Question from Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA:

My 9 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 on December 15, 2003. Although we have health insurance, purchased by ourselves and we have a high deductible and co-pay. I inquired at the pharmacy about generic insulins, but was told there are none. Why is this? Is there any chance this situation will change in the future? It would certainly help our monthly medical bills.

Answer:

There are only three companies in the US producing insulin at this time: Lilly, NovoNordisk and Aventis. Each of these insulins are listed as brands. The ability to produce insulin is complicated and may be cost prohibitive to the generic companies. Also, the companies would have to petition the FDA for generic designation.

It is unlikely that this will change in the future. However, if the costs are difficult, I would contact each of the companies and obtain a Patient Assistance form. Each companies has various levels of assistance and this could lower your bills and make them more manageable.

ABS