Canadian Insulin Is Cheaper than American Insulin: Why?

Canadian vs American insulin
Canadian vs American insulin

Ever wonder why more and more Americans are buying their insulin from Canada. It turns out Canadian insulin is significantly cheaper than American insulin. Why? Well let’s break down all factors in this discussion. 

Insulin produces a wide range of effects in the body: In addition to controlling blood sugar levels, insulin also has a vital role in regulating muscle function and fat storage. There are many different types of insulin including: insulin aspartinsulin glargine and insulin degludec. Insulin regulates muscle mass in two ways: It increases your body’s sensitivity to glucose (a chemical that fuels your energy system) and decreases your sensitivity to fats (which play an essential role in weight gain).

For those who don’t know what insulin is, let us be the first to tell you that even before diabetes was identified as a disease, humans have been using insulin for thousands of years as an essential therapeutic agent. The earliest references to insulin are found in ancient Chinese medical texts dating back hundreds if not thousands of years.

A wide range of medical conditions such as high blood pressure and digestive problems were treated with other types of drugs during ancient times, including opium and tobacco. However, these drugs were not considered safe due to their addictive nature (not unlike alcohol). For these medicines to be used safely by their patients, they were placed into a form that would render them inactive but still valid — so-called “inactive” or “inactive” drugs. These were often referred to as “active but inactive” drugs because they worked under certain conditions but didn’t produce euphoric effects like opium or tobacco — this was because the active ingredients weren’t being used by the body; instead, they were being used externally by the patient (the patient stood still while taking these medicines).

The cost of these medicines was hefty because they required special storage devices and techniques — which significantly increased costs. A patient’s house was also cluttered with it: there wasn’t room for all these “narcotic foodstuffs” and other things needed for keeping these medicines safe! So humans kept doing whatever they had always done: using heroin (opium), opium derivatives, morphine, etc. When it came time to use something else (elevated blood sugar), they would infuse intravenously or through needle injections with heroin or morphine acting as a carrier drug.

In the 1950s and 1960s, insulin became one of those new pharmaceutical drugs stored in vials instead of pill form, making them more accessible for patients to take. The amount of drug required per dose was also dramatically reduced now that only one dose needed to be ingested at once (instead of multiple). 

The price difference of insulin between the United States and Canada is quite apparent. For example, a Humalog vial would cost approximately $274 in the United States, while in Canada it would be $64.99.

Food Prices in Relation to Diabetes

The Canadian government has been making a concerted effort to get people to eat healthier foods, which is why they are so much more expensive in Canada than in the United States. In fact, the average Canadian eats more meat per capita than Americans do. The higher price of meat and dairy products in Canada is that there is more regulation of those products.

The Canadian government has a lot of control over its economy. With their large bureaucracy, they can control prices through taxation and regulations. The American system is much less regulated. However, there are many ways that Canadians can get cheaper food, including buying from different stores or restaurants (which aren’t as regulated themselves) or using coupons or discounts offered by certain websites or businesses.

This has led to a trend called “food deserts” — areas where people live without access to healthy food options because there isn’t an affordable grocery store nearby. This isn’t just limited to urban areas; rural areas too can see this problem with their lack of accessible stores. One study found that one out of eight children in America lives in a food desert.

Family at the grocery store

Despite having a higher population, Canada has some of the lowest rates on insulin costs — up to 75% less than the United States. It seems that Canadian doctors are better at telling people how to eat healthfully than American doctors. This isn’t surprising, considering how easier it is for Canadians to get prescription medication and insulin through a doctor-patient relationship instead of insurance coverage. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, diabetes cases increased 4% between 2005 and 2016.

Another problem with Canada is that despite its inexpensive food prices, most American diabetes sufferers end up paying more than $2 billion annually on insulin alone, compared with just $5 million for Canadians. As well as these high prices, Americans also have higher rates of obesity, which means even fewer Canadians will be able to afford insulin without buying it from someone else.

Since becoming Prime Minister in 2008, Justin Trudeau has made tackling this problem one of his top priorities. To help lower costs for patients suffering from diabetes, he announced plans last year for raising taxes on the wealthy, so they are required by law to pay for Medicare prescription drug coverage for all seniors over 65 years old. 

Canadian Insulin Vs. American Insulin

Insulin is a common medication used to treat diabetes. The U.S. has the highest rates of diabetes in the country, while Canada has one of the lowest rates. Insulin can be more effective than other medications in managing diabetes.

In addition to being cheaper than US-approved medications, Canadian insulin is also very effective in diabetes complications. Although it’s not available in the United States directly, people who need insulin can still get Canadian insulin through services such as Insulin Outlet. 

Syringes with the flag of Canada.

Insulin in Canada

In Canada, insulin is cheaper than in the States. One of the reasons for this is not the quality of medicine but the exchange rate. The Canadian dollar has already dropped from a high of $1.35 to a low at $0.88 before January 1, 2013, and it may drop even lower. But the main reason why medicine is cheaper in Canada than in the States is that insulin costs less here.

In Canada, there are three types of medicine:

1) Prescription Only Medications – Prescription-only medications are those that have to be paid for with a prescription or a generic equivalent (not covered by your insurance) and usually require an appointment to receive them. Examples include insulin, blood pressure medications, birth control pills, and antibiotics.

2) Over-the-Counter Medications – Over-the-counter medications are sold without a prescription at pharmacies without appointments or doctor visits. They vary in price depending on their type and brand name and can be purchased without regard to how often they are used, how long they have been on the market or whether they have actually been studied in clinical trials as compared to prescription medications controlled by a physician’s prescription. Examples include: aspirin, Tylenol, cough syrup, Eukodal, multivitamins are sold over-the-counter at grocery stores. 

3) Prescription Only Drugs – Prescription-only drugs include antibiotics such as penicillin (e.g., Acthar), oral contraceptives including nausea suppression drugs such as metoclopramide, and sleeping pills including zaleplon contained in pharmaceutical capsules

Price Controls on Drugs in Canada

The Canadian government seems to have decided that the market isn’t big enough for two different pharmaceuticals. So, it’s passed laws to prohibit generic forms of brand-name drugs from being sold in Canada. As a result, patients who purchase their medications from the United States may not receive them in Canada.

The price of insulin is often a driving force behind purchasing decisions. An American physician reported that his Canadian colleagues purchased more insulin at once than he did when he was practicing on the east coast. The price differential between the two countries is reflected in Canada’s healthcare system as well: Since Canadians must pay more for these services than Americans, they produce a higher percentage of their income for health coverage.

Please note that this article discusses drug prices in general, not just insulin prices. In addition, while there are some similarities between the Canadian and U.S. systems of drug control, there are very significant differences. For example, Canadians can buy drugs from pharmacies without a prescription; pharmacies are allowed to sell generic versions at only one price point per drug, and consumers can easily switch between brand-name and generic medications without losing coverage for previous purchases or opting for a “discounted” version of a drug . . . all factors which are not permitted under U.S. law.

Insulin in the United States

Millions of Americans have diabetes, which is a chronic disease with severe consequences. Insulin, which is used to maintain blood sugar levels, is a vital medication that can help people with diabetes from going into serious complications.

American Doctor holding an insulin vial

The insulin used in the United States and Canada is manufactured in the same factory. The difference between insulin manufactured in Canada and the U.S. comes down to one thing: The Canadian manufacturing plant uses U.S.-based ingredients — corn syrup, beet sugar, sodium bicarbonate, and a preservative called propylene glycol — while the U.S.-based manufacturing plant uses elements from other countries like Argentina and Mexico as well as Canadian ingredients like glucose syrup, corn syrup solids (which are the raw sugars used to make it), lactose (the milk sugar used to make it), dextrose (the dextrose utilized to make it), sodium bicarbonate (used as an alkali for baking), sodium citrate (used as an acid for making it) and potassium chloride (used as a catalyst for making it).

But what does it all mean? Let’s examine each ingredient individually:

1) Corn Syrup: The ingredient that makes up most of our insulin is corn because corn has more calories per 100 grams. It’s also cheap — only 0.5 cents per 100 grams. Corn syrup is often called “corn sugar” or “corn sweetener” because there is so much corn than sugar cane or beet sugar.

2) Beet Sugar: Beet sugar has a higher caloric content than cane sugar or maple sugar. Because of this high-calorie content, diets based on beet sugar-derived insulin are more effective than cane-based insulin.

3) Sodium Bicarbonate: This ingredient helps bind up water so that we don’t have too many water molecules floating around our bloodstreams when high blood pressure. Numerous health issues are associated with high blood pressure, including stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, cancer, neurodegeneration, obesity, and osteoporosis.

Other then the ingredients, it is the exact same insulin being produced in Canada and the United States. The only difference is the enormous price difference

Treatment Cost Vs. Insurance Co-Pays

Insulin is a medication for treating diabetes. In the United States, insulin is often expensive — up to 5 times more costly than in other countries. This can have an effect on the health of insulin-using patients.

Insulin costs are greatly affected by insurance co-pays and deductibles and the cost of medications. Insulin can be challenging to purchase because it is highly regulated and expensive, so the price of insulin can make some people feel anxious about buying it.

Insulin isn’t always easy to obtain legally or even at all. The availability of inexpensive insulin may be difficult for people who need it most — many people with diabetes live in poor conditions where they cannot access affordable insulin. For example, some people with Type 1 diabetes will have difficulty obtaining their daily dose of insulin from their local pharmacy due to financial reasons or lifestyle choices such as smoking or alcohol use that lead them to not self medicate with medications or eat healthier meals to maintain a healthy weight; this leads them to need much more frequent injections into their bodies so that they can maintain proper blood sugar levels.

In addition, some people find it difficult to afford their regular visits to the doctor’s office because many health care providers charge fees for each visit. Other people may find themselves spending thousands out-of-pocket for a $100 shot every eight weeks due primarily because insurance companies do not cover visits from doctors, and over half of Americans are not covered by any health insurance. In some instances, the rising costs of insulin can lead to death

Closeup of cash and a stethoscope healthcare and expenses

So why is Canadian Insulin More Affordable? 

Since its inception, insulin prices have always been questionable. The reasoning behind the high pricing in ancient times was dedicated to manufacturing and even storage.

It is also essential to look at each country’s relationship with food. The Canadian government makes it an initiative to do its best to keep their land as healthy as possible. Even though this comes at a high price, Canadians are less subject to diabetes through improper diet and lifestyle.

Canada’s healthcare system has been ranked in the top 10 of the world in several areas, including healthcare, education, and worker protection, for some time now. However, it’s incredible how cheaper insulin is in Canada than in the United States. The reason for this is due to a lack of regulation. In other words, insulin is more affordable in Canada because the government ensures pharmaceutical companies cannot control the market.

Canadians can buy cheap insulin from pharmacies without any regulation by the government. Even though Canadians have less money to spend on food and clothing, they still pay a high portion of taxes towards their national healthcare.

Now, American diabetics don’t have to pay thousands for their insulin, as they can buy insulin online from Canada. With Insulin Outlet, people with diabetes from the States can save up to 80% on their insulin! Check out our pharmacy for more information!