Good news for those looking for a cheaper way to manage diabetes: Walmart will launch its own brand of insulin, and says it'll be affordable and more accessible.

For those who don't know, diabetes is a condition where the body doesn't break down the food we eat properly to produce the energy we need. The pancreas produces insulin which helps glucose get into our cells, and those with diabetes have issues with that process, either because the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or the body has trouble with the insulin it does produce.

There is Type 1 diabetes, which the CDC says accounts for 5% to 10% of all cases, and Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90% to 95% of all cases. As of 2020, the CDC says just over 1 in 10 people, or 34.2 million Americans, have diabetes, with over 88 million people with prediabetes. Black Americans are 1.7 times as likely to develop diabetes as whites.

The cost of insulin is expensive and continues to rise, leaving many people wondering how they can afford the medicine they need to battle this disease. Forbes reported in Jan. 2021 that a vial of retail insulin can cost between $175 and $300, and a person with Type 1 diabetes can need two or three vials a month while a person with Type 2 diabetes may need six or more vials a month. Add it up and you're looking at a lot of money to manage the disease.

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Walmart issued a press release on Tuesday announcing their plan is to make the insulin cheaper and more accessible to those who need it, but can't afford to pay the skyrocketing prices. Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President of Walmart Health & Wellness, says,

“We know many people with diabetes struggle to manage the financial burden of this condition, and we are focused on helping by providing affordable solutions. We also know this is a condition that disproportionately impacts underserved populations. With ReliOn NovoLog® insulin, we’re adding a high-quality medication for diabetes to the already affordable ReliOn line of products and continuing our commitment to improve access and lowering cost of care.”

Walmart will use it's ReliOn brand of insulin products that include analog insulin vials that cost $72.88, and the FlexPen costing $85.88, saving their customers between 58% and 75% of the cost of other brands.

ReliOn brand can already be found in Walmart Pharmacies, and Sam's Club will start selling these in mid-July.

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