Walgreens Offering Biosimilar and Interchangeable Insulin Semglee

Patients who are part of the Walgreen’s Prescription Savings Club can receive Semglee at up to 80% off the cash price.

Walgreens is offering the first biosimlar and interchangeable insulin approved by the FDA, Semglee (insulin glargine-yfgn) injection, at up to 80% off the cash price of comparable long-acting insulins.

Semglee, codeveloped by Viatris and Biocon Biologics, will be offered to Walgreens Prescription Savings Club members for $71.99 per vial or five pens for $84.99, Walgreens said in a news release.

Walgreens’ executives made the decision to partner with Viatris on the lower cost insulin due to rising insulin costs. A quarter of the more than 34 million adults with diabetes in the United States use insulin for their treatment, Greg Primuth, RPh, senior director of Pharma Strategic Initiatives at Walgreens, told FormularyWatch®.

“However, with insulin prices on the rise, roughly a quarter of those living with diabetes dependent on insulin either reduce or skip their dose altogether,” Primuth said by email. “Reducing costs for insulin is critical to driving better adherence and improving health outcomes, particularly among those who are uninsured or underinsured, which is why we're offering this through Walgreens Prescription Savings Club.”

Walgreens has the experience and flexibility to partner with a multitude of payors, providers and manufacturers to help improve health outcomes and lower overall costs, Primuth added.

Biosimilar and interchangeable biosimilar products have the potential to reduce overall healthcare costs, Primuth noted, similar to how generic drugs have reduced costs. “Biosimilars marketed in the United States typically have launched with initial list prices 15% to 35% lower than comparative list prices of the reference products,” he said.

In late July, Semglee was the first insulin biosimilar granted FDA interchangeability with the reference product Lantus.

While both Prime Therapeutics and Express Scripts added Semglee to their national preferred formulary in early November, OptumRx said it will exclude the drug from its Premium Formulary and instead will place it on Tier 3 with step therapy on its Select Formulary.

OptumRx’s current preferred long-acting insulin products are Lantus and Toujeo. These offer the lowest net cost long-acting insulin options and are Tier 2 on the OptumRx Premium and Select Formularies, according to OptumRx.