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Research Letter
February 18, 2019

Frequency of Sale and Reasons for Purchase of Over-the-Counter Insulin in the United States

Author Affiliations
  • 1Christiana Care Health System, Department of Medicine, Newark, Delaware
  • 2Wesley College, Dover, Delaware
JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(5):722-723. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.7279

Insulin, such as insulin isophane suspension and 70% human isophane suspension/30% human insulin injection, is available over the counter in 49 US states and the District of Columbia. Over-the-counter insulin is banned in Indiana.1 Reports suggest that some patients with diabetes who are uninsured or underinsured purchase Walmart-brand ReliOn (Novo Nordisk) insulin over the counter because it is considerably less expensive ($24.88 per 10-mL vial) than the Novolin (Novo Nordisk) and Humulin (Lilly) insulins sold over the counter at other pharmacies ($152-$163 per 10-mL vial).1-3 Information, however, is lacking to support these reports, and Walmart does not make public its sales data.1 We sought to obtain such information.

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