Thoughts on that ‘Walmart’ Insulin

I have been reading some VERY INTERESTING comments on social media regarding the “insulin sold at Walmart”.  Some even using actual scare tactics that I’m not so sure should be used by anyone, nor does anyone any good.  Still not so sure why THAT is even being done.

To be clear,  Buying these insulins IS NOT an alternative to the dilemma of the high insulin costs.  What IT IS, is an alternative to dying because one cannot afford insulin. 

There are many things I have read over the years that leaves me scratching my head.  But I have also learned that how one manage their diabetes, or their loved ones’ diabetes ……is……well……up to them. If you can find a way to make the insulins work that Walmart sells, more power to you.  When Kaitlyn was first diagnosed, those insulins were pretty much all there was to manage the disease.  In fact one was actually ‘pork insulin’.  Twenty-six years later, here we are.

It will take an adjustment and a doctor should surely be involved….as always.  And it will probably be a pain in the ass. These certainly are the older generation of insulins, and so they don’t provide quite the same coverage for blood sugars. They have a shorter half-life than name brand insulins and they do not come in pens. They can peak in two hours and may need a 30-60 minute lead time….like I said, a pain.

You will also be better served by finding a way to obtain the insulins that are available today.  But if you cannot afford it, if the cost-reduction programs that the companies offer do not work for you, if you have tried government programs, senior centers (if applicable), and community and social programs for help and if there are no options…..and the only option is NOT TAKING insulin, well THAT is not an option at all.

Now please do not come after me with pitchforks and torches.  TO BE CLEAR: NOTHING SHOULD STOP THE PRESSURE BEING MOUNTED AGAINST THESE HIGH COSTS.  But I would not want it on my conscience that someone read something that I wrote and did not at least try it because of what I said…..and died because they went without.  There is a difference between ‘stop-gap’ action and a substitute for.

I’m still unsure why the government cannot relax the restrictions for buying insulin abroad until such time that those who are so ‘piggy with greed’ can find a balance.  Because this dilemma is bad, stupid, and inhumane.  Like the air we breath when denied, will kill us; so too it is a death sentence to not have insulin affordable to those who cannot survive without it.  THAT THOUGHT HAS NOT CHANGED. Why some bright lawyer has not figured out a way to sue over that, is also beyond me.

WE WILL ALL KEEP FIGHTING.  YOU must find a way to stay alive.  My prayers will continue and my actions will stay in full force until we find this rectified.  And if there is something out there to try with your doctor’s help as oppose to doing without…..I choose trying.  That is my point today,
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12 replies on “Thoughts on that ‘Walmart’ Insulin”

You are absolutely correct. I have had Type 1 for 41 years and have used pork NPH. I now to use Novolin NPH from Walmart and my A1c is 6.3% and has always been in control . I only recently switched to Novolog off of Regular because of the wait time pre meal I do better with Novolog, however it costs me so much money and my insurance company puts me through hell to approve it. I still pay the total high cost per month for it until I meet deductible.
My patients ( I am also a Certified Diabetes Educator, RN), often do better on NPH then they do on the newer basal insulin’s. It’s really patient dependent. So, to your point.. Insulin from Walmart is a life saver for many and should not be dismissed. Thank you for your article.
I also wonder of the legality of stopping Americans from getting life saving medication from abroad. The refrigeration concern is not valid as many US mail away pharmacies send insulin with dry ice all over the country. In fact sometimes further than had it come from Canada!

It is legal because it crosses the US boarder…and hence, there are laws governing such. That said……laws, when needed, can be relaxed when needed for an emergency.
Thank you for your words and your service to the diabetes community. I needed a hero today…’re it.

Thank you for your kind words. Pandemic happened shortly after my post and I never saw your reply. Well wishes to you and your family.

I spent years scrambling for insulin. I lost my sight twice from complications of rationing what I could get…until someone posted information on Walmart insulin. It’s still my only option and I’ve been using it successfully for about a year. If my greatest obstacle is adjusting to shorter shelf life and effectiveness, that’s a small detail compared to eminent death. I wish someone would have shared this option with me sooner. Many times I left the (Walmart) pharmacy unable to afford my prescriptions and the pharmacist didn’t tell me about their generic product. If even one life can be saved by learning of a $24 vial of lifesaving insulin, then let me tell you that it has worked well for me.

I still cannot believe that this far into the 21st century the one 1st world country on the planet that is often billed as the greatest country on earth, still allows its citizens to die for lack of subsidized medication. Insulin as treatment for T1D is not a choice, it is a lifesaving necessity. Once treated with insulin ppl with T1D can life a fruitful productive life that will allow them to contribute to the community not least by paying taxes and therefore covering any subsidized costs of medication. Any government that keeps its citizens healthy reaps rewards in the long run. Please do not give up your cause, keep fighting for the simple right to stay alive.

I used this insulin type of insulin for twenty two years. I did so without a pump and for sometime without test strips. Let me be clear this product is not as good. it is not the same product and I am glad I have access to the current analog insulin’s.

Now I would certainly use these products if I had to do so. I would not like it, and I would stop using it as soon as possible if I were. Still, I would use it. I hope most people can avoid using it, but again, I would and I woudl tell anyone to use it given the terrible alternative of going without.

I agree that using the Walmart insulins is better than going without. My concern with the meme going around is that it implies that they are interchangeable with the newer insulins. It doesn’t clarity that if you switch you should do so under the guidance of your care provider. Sharing that meme without those disclaimers is reckless and irresponsible.

So are the comparisons on what some people are saying about the insulins without knowing…..both approaches left me scratching my head asking what is this about……hence the article. Thanks for your valuable input.

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