Diabetes is a medical condition in which blood sugar is abnormally high.
This is due to inability of the body to produce insulin that is responsible for moving sugar from the blood to the cells where it is converted into energy.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body cannot produce insulin at all and symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually begin in childhood.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% of all diabetes cases in the United States and it is usually diagnosed in older patients.
In type 2 diabetes, there is also a lack of sufficient insulin that can properly move sugar out of the blood.
Treatment of diabetes is crucial in combatting the disease and allowing patients diagnosed with the condition to live a normal and healthy lifestyle.
Without treatment, it can lead to serious health complications like retinal damage, nerve damage, heart attack or stroke or kidney damage.
Treatment regimens for diabetes usually consist of a combination of exercise, diet changes and prescription drugs that can reduce blood sugar levels.
Synthetic insulin is one of the most commonly used drugs to treat high blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, but it is not the only option.
Taking these medications regularly and as prescribed can make the difference in whether diabetes is kept under control or becomes fatal.
Cost of diabetes drugs is on the rise
The relatively high cost of prescription drugs in the United States is a major problem that prevents patients from taking their required medication regularly.
For chronic conditions like diabetes, this can be extremely dangerous as it can lead to consistently high blood sugar levels that can cause serious health consequences.
A prime example of this is the cost of synthetic human insulin that is used to treat diabetes. Although generic versions of insulin are readily available, as the demand for insulin has only increased over the years, the price of insulin has risen steeply since 2012.
In ten years, between 2002 and 2012 the price of insulin tripled.
This price increase has taken a heavy toll on patients without health insurance or with insurance plans that do not cover prescription drugs. Many patients were unable to buy the insulin they need.
Jardiance is another prescription medication used to treat type 2 diabetes that is considered to be on the higher end in terms of cost.
It is one of the only diabetic drugs that is proven to be safe and effective in reducing the risk of a cardiovascular event.
What is Jardiance?
Jardiance is a prescription medication that is used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death due to heart attack, stroke or heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes.
This drug has been proven to reduce the risk by 38 percent and is prescribed along with a treatment regimen that includes diet changes and exercise.
Metformin Hcl still remains the first line therapy for diabetes in controlling blood sugar levels, but Jardiance is a popular choice of medication in combination with metformin, or as a standalone therapy in patients that may be at higher risk for an adverse cardiovascular event occurring.
Jardiance controls blood sugar levels by preventing the reabsorption of glucose from the kidneys back into circulation in the blood.
Instead, the excess glucose can be excreted through urine by the kidneys preventing high blood glucose levels from occuring.
Jardiance is also effective in helping patients with weight loss, which is often a factor that is considered when the medication is prescribed for a specific individual. Importantly, Jardiance is not used to treat type 1 diabetes.
Cost of Jardiance
Jardiance is manufactured by an alliance between two pharmaceutical giants in the diabetes market, Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim.
It was FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes in 2014 and later in 2016 it was further approved by the FDA for lowering the risk of cardiovascular death in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Since it is a relatively recent drug to hit the market, no generic form of Jardiance currently exists and is not expected to be available until the earliest 2025.
This means that since only the brand-name version of Jardiance is available, it is relatively expensive compared to other diabetes drugs.
Jardiance is available as either 10 mg or 25 mg tablets. According to retail pharmacy prices, the average list price for 30 tablets of 10 mg Jardiance is over $600.
In 2018, the average price for this drug was over $500. For patients with diabetes, prescription drugs used to treat the condition have to be taken daily and long-term. A monthly price of over $600 a month for Jardiance is a hefty annual price tag for a life-saving medication.
The exact price of how much you will pay for Jardiance depends on a few factors that include:
- The specific health insurance plan
- The dosage of Jardiance
- Pharmacy that the prescription is filled at
Some of the major pharmacies that Jardiance is available from have slightly different cash prices on the drug. Currently,a monthly supply of Jardiance costs about $604 at CVS Pharmacy, whereas it will cost around $670 at Rite Aid Pharmacy.
This is the cost of the drug without applying health insurance or any form of discount coupons or discount plans that are available for Jardiance.
Does health insurance help?
Whether health insurance can help lower the cost of Jardiance will largely depend on the specific health insurance policy and what kind of co-pay and deductibles they include.
Some insurance plans do cover Jardiance, which can significantly help in annual savings on the drug.
One of the biggest problems that occurred in 2018 was that two huge Pharmacy Benefit Managers, Express Scripts and Caremark, removed Jardiance along with a few other prescription drugs from their covered list of drugs.
This resulted in Jardiance being removed from coverage by many private insurance plans forcing patients who need the drug to pay out of pocket for it.
Currently, some insurance plans do cover Jardiance, and this can reduce the monthly co-pay to as low as single digit numbers.
Does Medicare cover Jardiance?
The good news is that almost 96% of Medicare Part D prescription drug plans cover Jardiance.
Before the annual deductible is met, the full cost of Jardiance will have to be paid out of pocket.
After that, Medicare will cover most of the cost of the drug with typical co-pays starting at $19 for 30 tablets, according to retail pharmacy prices. In the Medicare ‘Donut Hole’ or the coverage gap, Jardiance will cost a lot more.
How to save on Jardiance
If your health insurance plan does not cover Jardiance, there are several ways in which you may be able to save on the cost of the drug.
- Savings program by Boehringer Ingelheim
Boehringer Ingelheim, manufacturer of Jardiance, offers a Jardiance patient assistance program for patients without health insurance through their Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation Cares Patient Assistance program.
Eligible patients that do not have health insurance can receive the medication free of cost.
To find out if you are eligible, you will need to show proof of your gross monthly income and have a valid prescription for Jardiance. Program details can be found here.
- Drug manufacturer coupon
Additionally, Boehringer Ingelheim offers a drug manufacturer coupon for Jardiance.
This coupon is eligible for patients who already have health insurance that covers the drug, and can help reduce co-pay amounts up to almost 100%. There is a monthly limit on the amount that the coupon will cover, but many patients have negligible co-pay amounts by using this coupon.
The coupon can be found on their website here.
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Fact Checked and Editorial Process
Diabetic.org is devoted to producing expert and accurate articles and information for our readers by hiring experts, journalists, medical professionals, and our growing Diabetic.org community. We encourage you to read more about our content, editing, and fact checking methods here. This was fact checked by Erik Rivera and medically reviewed by Dr. Angel Rivera.
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