Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What Insulin Costs the Least?

Quick. Which costs less? A 10ml vial of U40 ProZinc for $120 (current pricing with shipping from Allivet) or a 10ml vial of U100 Lantus for $270 (current pricing from my local US Walgreen’s Pharmacy, before any discount program or card)?

Yes, you are right that Lantus is the right answer. That is because looking only at the price per vial can be misleading because the same sizes of U40 and U100 insulin contain different volumes of insulin. A 10ml vial of U40 insulin contains 400 units. A 10ml vial of U100 insulin contains 1,000 units.

The U40 ProZinc for $120 costs $.30 a unit. The U100 Lantus costs $.27 a unit. And in my experience and observation, an insulin-dependent cat doesn’t use significantly more units of one type of insulin vs. another, so pricing based on the unit cost is a reasonable measure.

But there are ways to get Lantus much less expensively than full price at a retail pharmacy. See my earlier blog post at I have bought Lantus insulin in Solostar pens from Craigslist sellers twice in the past two weeks for $.033 a unit. $50 for a box of five pens, plus I had to have a local friend pick them up for me and I will have to have them mailed in the spring, which might cost another $20. That will bring the cost to $.046 a unit.

That’s even more below the $.30 a unit for ProZinc.

Yes, it can be scary to buy from a Craigslist seller. DCIN has document of dos and don’ts about dealing with a Craigslist seller at There have been times I have walked away from a Craigslist seller because it didn’t feel right. But many more times, I have (both in person and through friends) felt very comfortable with the person offering the insulin as s/he just lost her/his diabetic parent, sibling, or spouse. And sometimes these sellers turn out to be animal lovers and sell the insulin for less or even give it for free. I have even hugged Craislist sellers after we have exchanged cash for insulin.

If you still are uncomfortable with the thought of buying from Craigslist, you can buy from a reputable Canadian mail order pharmacy. At this time, many of them are selling a box of five Lantus pens delivered from the manufacturer’s plant in Turkey for $.09 a unit.

I can’t argue with the fact that the cheapest retail insulin is Relion N from Walmart at $25 for a U100 10ml vial. That’s $.025 a unit. But I can certainly take the position that many in the feline diabetes community will tell you that “N” is the worst possible insulin for a diabetic cat because of its short duration and its sharp drop in blood glucose levels. Caregivers that use “N” insulin usually have to give their cats shots three times a day, and then watch their baby take continuous roller coaster rides through their curves.

What I have said above for Lantus applies equally to Levemir. The US retail, Canadian mail-order, and Craigslist pricing for Lantus and Levemir are pretty much the same. I don’t focus on Levemir because many vets don’t know about it and therefore do not prescribe it. However, my Ennis did wonderfully on Levemir for over four years, and I know many diabetic cats that do the same.

But the biggest point to make on this post is that each cat is different and you need to find the insulin that works for your cat. But please don’t disregard Lantus or Levemir, which have a great track record when properly used of getting cats into regulation or remission, because you think it’s too expensive.


Larry Silkaitis said...

There is also BCP PZI.
You vet can get your a free 5 ml sample.
Late last year I pair less than $100, including shipping, for a 10 ml vial or U100 strength

Pam Staples said...

I just found your blog through Ricochet the SURFice dog. Just a little over a year ago, I "fostered" a friends Diabetic cat as she was moving to the Netherlands and up to a week before she was leaving still had not found anyone to take her diabetic kitty. She was devastated at the thought she might have to put it to sleep - there were NO rescues willing to take her diabetic cat in our area.

I volunteered to "Foster" and was hoping a co-worker of my husband could help us find her a home as she works with a Cat Rescue and they were also hoping that they would be able to place diabetic kitties at a local nursing home however the arrangements fell through. Well, Callie ended up adopting my husband as her human (yes, he is the non-cat lover that has fallen for a sweet kitty!).

Callie is on Lantus. The pharmacy where my friend would get the Lantus Insulin for Callie would actually break up a box so for 1 pen it is about $65.00 but the pharmacy is about 1 1/2 hours round trip from our home. I'll definitely be looking into some of these other resources.

Thanks so much for the info.

Dawn Lien said...

Find a diabetic friend! I get our cat's Lantus from a friend who is diabetic, he gets the Lantus pens as free samples from his doctor. His free samples would have lasted him only a day or so, but for our kitty, they last much longer!

Leo Lora said... have lantus in the beginning of the month for good price

Thomas Nixon said...

I have 6 bottles of lantus and 4 bottles of humalog for a good price

Thomas Nixon said...

I have 6 bottles of lantus and 4 bottles of humalog for a good price

Unknown said...

I have 6 bottles of unexpired humalog for dirt cheap .

Unknown said...

If any1 interested I have four boxes of lantus Solostar Pens. Expires In 2019. My name is Ramon and I'm frm las vegas.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa Tingley said...

Lantus and novalog I really hate auto correct

Melissa Tingley said...

I have a bunch of both Lantus and novalog pre-filled pens just make me an offer

Debbie Sizemore said...

I have 4 unopened boxes Humalog Kwik pens (5x3ml pre filled pens) (rDNA origin) expires in 2018 and 3 unopened boxes Basaglar kwik pens (5x3ml pre filled pens) 100 units per pen. Expires in 2018. All boxes are unopened and have been refrigeratored constantly. Make offer.