Walmart said Tuesday that it will start selling its own private brand of insulin at much lower prices than competing products.
Insulin prices have skyrocketed in recent years, making it unaffordable for some Americans with diabetes, according to CBS News.
“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,” Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president of Walmart Health & Wellness, said in a company news release.
Just three companies—Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi—control 99% of the market, and there are no generic versions of the drug available.
Walmart’s insulin will cost $72.88 per vial and $85.88 per FlexPen, which is 58% to 75% lower than other insulin products on the market. That will save patients $101 per branded vial and $251 per package of branded FlexPens, the company said in a statement, CBS News reported.
Novo Nordisk will make Walmart’s private brand insulin.
In Walmart’s statement, the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) chief executive officer said the group welcomed “all affordable solutions” to managing diabetes.
“Diabetes often comes with high medical costs, estimated around $9,601 per person per year,” ADA CEO Tracey Brown told CBS News.
In response to the Walmart announcement, the nonprofit JDRF said more needs to be done to ensure everyone with diabetes has access to affordable insulin.
“The rising cost of insulin is a fundamental issue faced by those living with diabetes, and JDRF applauds this new effort,” the JDRF said in a statement. “No one should die because they can’t afford their insulin.”
The steep rise in insulin prices has been criticized by patients and lawmakers. Some patients say that difficulty affording insulin has forced them to ration the drug or make risky decisions.