The cost of insulin needs to be brought down so that it is affordable for everyone, which is why the American Diabetes Association is leading the call for action on this important issue. For people who currently use insulin, however, we know costs are mounting now. Visit for resources that may be helpful to people who are currently struggling with the cost of insulin.

General tips for people currently facing high costs:

  • If the cost of your insulin is a barrier for you, talk to your healthcare team about your concerns, and see what options might be available to you.
  • Review your insurance plan’s drug formulary to understand coverage of your insulin and cost variation by tier, by pharmacy, and pharmacy type (mail order or retail). Depending on your health care plan, biosimilar insulins may be less expensive than the original formulation, and vials may be less expensive than pens.
  • Due to the high cost of newer insulin analogs, use of older human insulins may be a practical option for some people who use insulin
  • Align prescription needs: talk to your doctor to ensure that your prescription reflects your usage each month to avoid multiple copays for a month’s worth of insulin.

Human Insulin: What People With Diabetes Should Know About Using Lower-Cost Insulin Formulations

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recognizes that affordable access to insulin is a matter of life and death, every day for more than 7.5 million Americans with diabetes. It is important to note that human insulin is not “lower grade.” Rather, it is cheaper than analog insulins because it has been on the market since the 1980s, whereas newer analog insulins were introduced more recently in the mid-1990s.

Human insulin formulations include long-acting insulins like NPH, which has a duration of 8-12 hours, or regular insulin, which has a much quicker onset, as little as 30 minutes, and shorter duration. In select patients with proper monitoring, human insulin may be an option for those who struggle with affording their medications.

In our white paper, published in Diabetes Care, we acknowledge that prescribing patterns have favored newer, more expensive insulins, and acknowledge that human insulin may be an appropriate alternative to more expensive analog insulins for some people with diabetes. We recommend providers “prescribe the lowest-priced insulin required to effectively and safely achieve treatment goals,” which may include using human insulin in selected patients.

For more information about diabetes, call 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or visit

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