You Can Buy Insulin Without A Prescription, But Should You? | Kaiser Health News

Filed Under: Costs, Patients

Summary: “As anyone who needs insulin to treat diabetes can tell you, that usually means regular checkups at the doctor’s office to fine-tune the dosage, monitor blood-sugar levels and check for complications. But here’s a little known fact: Some forms of insulin can be bought without a prescription,” writes Sarah Jane Tribble on Kaiser Health News. “Carmen Smith did that for six years when she didn’t have health insurance, and didn’t have a primary care doctor. She bought her insulin without a prescription at Wal-Mart. … Smith, who lives in Cleveland … said: ‘The clerks usually don’t know it’s a big secret. They’ll just go, “Do we sell over-the-counter insulin?” Once the pharmacist says yes, the clerk just goes to get it, Smith says. ‘And you purchase it and go about your business.’… There are two types of human insulin available over the counter: one made by Eli Lilly and the other by Novo Nordisk. These versions of the medicine are older, and take longer to metabolize than some of the newer, prescription versions; they were created in the early 1980s, and the prices range from more than $200 a vial to as little as $25, depending on where you buy them.” Sarah Jane Tribble, You Can Buy Insulin Without A Prescription, But Should You?” Kaiser Health News.