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Amazon Pharmacy Unveils $35 Monthly Insulin

Published: 8/21/23 2:19 pm
By April Hopcroft

A person holds a package delivery from AmazonMore than a dozen common insulins are now available for as low as $35 per month with free delivery through Amazon Pharmacy. Here's how to access more affordable insulin. 

Amazon Pharmacy announced that it will begin automatically applying manufacturer coupons to more than 15 common insulin and diabetes devices. This includes Lilly’s Humalog, Humulin, and Lispro insulins, as well as Novo Nordisk’s Novolog and Sanofi’s Lantus. 

With coupons automatically applied, many insulins will be available for as low as $35/month. This means people with diabetes can take advantage of cost savings without the hassle of searching for and enrolling in patient assistance programs

Beyond insulin, Amazon will also apply manufacturer coupons to other diabetes medicines and devices, including insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs). Amazon Pharmacy offers a number of diabetes therapies including SGLT-2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists. Coupons are also available in the Amazon Pharmacy for medications to treat other conditions, such as obesity, anxiety, and high cholesterol. 

This is the latest move to improve insulin access 

In August 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which limits insulin costs to $35 per month for those on Medicare. However, this copay cap doesn’t apply to people with commercial insurance or those who don’t have insurance. 

In March 2023, Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi – three major insulin producers – announced a price reduction of 70% or more for certain insulin products. Most of these price cuts were to go into effect in late 2023 or early 2024. Notably, price cuts for Lilly’s generic mealtime insulin Lispro went into effect on May 1, 2023, lowering the cost from $82 to $25 per vial. 

Despite these price cuts, a new report from Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal, and Raphael Warnock revealed that accessing discounted insulin from pharmacies is harder than it seems

In a survey of over 300 pharmacies, less than half did not sell Lispro, Lilly’s less expensive generic insulin. Meanwhile, the vast majority of pharmacies sold Humalog, the more expensive brand name version. Many people were charged more than what the drug companies had promised, according to the report. 

On average, people without insurance paid $97.51 for Lispro. This is nearly four times the $25 rate that Lilly has set in the US for its generic insulin. Beyond these findings, the report explained that patients must navigate confusing resources regarding insulin pricing. As a result, many people end up paying more than the discounted price. 

Why does this matter for people with diabetes? 

Amazon Pharmacy has committed to helping people access insulin at the discounted prices that insulin makers promised in March 2023. Because Amazon Pharmacy automatically applies manufacturer coupons, no extra steps are required for savings to apply. That means there is no need to search online, enroll in programs, or complete any paperwork. 

This is especially important because research shows that many people struggle to pay for insulin. A study published in 2021 found that nearly 17% of adults with diabetes in the U.S. either skipped, delayed, or took less insulin than was needed to save money. In addition to insulin, the cost of diabetes supplies – such as CGMs, blood glucose monitors, and test strips – adds up. 

Who is eligible for these Amazon Pharmacy’s insulin discounts? 

Anyone can sign up for Amazon Pharmacy – you do not have to be a member of Amazon Prime to use the service. 

However, insulin manufacturer coupons cannot be used if you’re part of a state or federal healthcare program. This includes: 

  • Medicaid

  • Medicare

  • Medicare Part D

  • Medigap

  • Department of Defense

  • Veteran Affairs

  • TRICARE®/CHAMPUS (for active duty service members)

  • Employer Group Waiver Plans

The coupons also can’t be used for any state patient or pharmaceutical assistance programs, even if you choose to pay for the medication outside of your benefits. 

Additionally, insulin coupons can't be combined with other discount programs such as Rxpass (a benefit for Prime subscribers that provides access to all medications at $5 per month) or Amazon Prime prescription savings benefits. 

How does it work? 

  1. Create an account and log in to Amazon Pharmacy.

  2. Add your prescription on Amazon Pharmacy through one of two ways:

    • Transfer an existing prescription by providing the medication name and your current pharmacy.

    • Ask your doctor to send a new prescription directly to Amazon Pharmacy just like with other pharmacies.

  3. Type in the name of your prescription to see the medication price with or without insurance. 

  4. Amazon Pharmacy accepts payment from most insurers. To check if your insurance is accepted, visit the page of the medication you need. For active prescriptions eligible for refill, choose “Check Insurance Price” and enter your information. Amazon Pharmacy accepts multiple insurance plans if you are covered by more than one. You can change your insurance information at any time. 

  5. When you check out, Amazon will automatically apply eligible manufacturer coupons – you do not need to do anything to redeem them. If a particular coupon can be combined with insurance, Amazon will apply it and reduce the final copay price.

  6. Your medication will be delivered to your door, with status updates along the way. Prime members receive free two-day shipping, while regular members receive free -5 day shipping. Amazon Pharmacy also offers automatic refills. 

Learn more about accessing insulin and diabetes supplies:

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About the authors

April Hopcroft joined diaTribe in 2023 as a Staff Writer after co-leading the Diabetes Therapy team at Close Concerns. She graduated from Smith College in 2021, where she majored in... Read the full bio »