Walmart launches a low-cost insulin analog in the US

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Last week, Walmart, the largest supermarket chain in the United States, announced its plans to launch a budget version of insulin. This way, the company is trying to provide the vitally important drug to the millions of Americans who do not have health insurance or cannot afford current prices.

Over the last decade, the cost of insulin has dramatically increased. One of the main reasons could be contributed to the fact that local pharmaceutical companies have every right to set and increase prices without any restrictions. Besides that, there are not so many competitors in the US insulin market.

Currently, the top insulin producers in the United States are Eli Lilly (23% world market share), Sanofi (17% world market share), and Novo Nordisk (52% world market share). Together they control more than 90% of the global insulin market. The remaining share of the global insulin market is divided between approximately seven insulin manufacturers.

A study by the RAND Corporation suggests that the average price per standard unit of insulin in the United States is $98.70, compared to $12 in Canada. In France, Great Britain, Australia, it is even lower, less than $10, and in Turkey, less than $3. It should be mentioned that even though the United States represents only 15 percent of the global insulin market, the country accounts for almost 50 percent of revenues related to diabetes drugs.

It is worth mentioning that according to the 2020 National Statistics Report, about 34.2 million people in the United States have diabetes. Broadly speaking, this is 10.5% of the US population. As type 2 diabetes cases in the country continue to rise, the insulin market is likely to grow in the coming years.

Howbeit, the question should be asked – when did the wholesale and retail chain become a pharmaceutical company? In reality, Walmart will only sell an exclusive version of ReliOn NovoLog analog insulin under its own brand for adults and children. The drug will be available at Sam’s Club in mid-July. The cost will be approximate $86 for a pack of insulin pens.


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