Is There a Generic Version of Insulin Available?
At this time, there are no generic insulin
medications available. It does not matter if it is a brand-new type of insulin or one that has been around for decades -- current rules and regulations do not allow for the production or sale of generic insulin in the United States.
Why Isn't Generic Insulin Available?
Insulin is considered a "biologic" medication and is regulated by different rules and laws than most other medications. At this point, generic biologics, including generic insulin, are not allowed to be manufactured in the United States. Currently, legislation is underway that may change the laws concerning generic biologics (including insulin), but it is not clear when (or even if) this may happen.
Why Did My Insurance Make Me Switch Insulins?
You might wonder why your insurance company (or Medicaid or Medicare Part-D) made you switch your brand of insulin to another brand, especially when there are no generic versions available. Insurance companies can bargain with drug manufacturers to get special deals or rebates for medications. This helps to keep costs down. Some insurance companies will only cover certain brands of insulin for this reason. This is usually only a factor for the older insulins (for which there are several, nearly equivalent alternatives). If you are required to switch insulins, make sure to check your blood sugar levels more often until you know how the switch will affect you.