Walmart’s “everyday low price” has made groceries affordable and — as of Tuesday — has now made insulin more affordable. The nation’s largest grocer announced Tuesday that it would begin selling a private brand of insulin at a significantly lower cost than competing brands, reports CNBC.

  • Insulin is a lifesaving and necessary drug for those diagnosed with diabetes and has been used for nearly 100 years, reports CBS News.
  • Walmart’s low-cost insulin will be available for adults and children with prescriptions at Walmart pharmacies starting this week and Sam’s Club pharmacies starting next month, says USA Today.

In recent years, a growing number of Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes. Demand for insulin has increased while prices have skyrocketed, says CNBC.

  • More than 34 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with diabetes — or 11% of the population, says CNBC.

What is Walmart’s new low-cost insulin?

Walmart’s private brand of analog insulin is called ReliOn NovoLog and is manufactured directly with a large pharmaceutical company, Novo Nordisk, says CNBC.

  • One vial of ReliOn insulin will cost about $73 and one pack of pre-filled insulin pens, called FlexPens, will cost about $86, says CNBC.

Previously, Walmart has sold an older version of insulin for only $25, but some doctors and advocates have found this version to be less effective at managing blood sugar swings, reports CNBC. The new version — analog insulin — is more effective.

How much cheaper is Walmart’s brand of insulin?

The annual medical cost of treating diabetes is about $9,601 on average, says USA Today. Between 2012 and 2016, the most recent years for which data is available, the cost of insulin nearly doubled, reports CNBC.

  • One vial of Walmart’s insulin is $101 cheaper than alternatives, says CBS News.
  • One pack of Walmart’s pre-filled insulin pens is $251 cheaper than brand alternatives, says CNBC.

Skyrocketing insulin prices has brought increased scrutiny and criticism against the three manufacturers who produce 99% of all insulin, says CBS News.

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What does this mean for diabetes patients?

For the millions of Americans who struggle to pay for insulin, Walmart’s low-cost option may be as lifesaving as the drug itself, says CNBC.

  • According to Dr. Cheryl Pegus, the executive vice president of health and wellness at Walmart, the company hopes this “will improve and hopefully revolutionize the accessibility and affordability of insulin,” per CNBC.
  • “We know that many people with diabetes struggle to manage this chronic condition because of its financial burden,” said Pegus per CNBC.