Why is Jardiance so expensive?
The costs of prescription drugs in the United States are the highest in the world. The high cost of diabetes drugs is a concern for millions of people. An estimated 9.3% of the US population (29.1 million people) are affected by diabetes, and approximately 37% of all US adults have prediabetes, a condition that greatly increases the risk of developing diabetes.
Jardiance is an expensive diabetes medication with no generic alternative available. Learn more about why Jardiance is so expensive and what you can do to save money when purchasing this medication, with or without insurance.
What is Jardiance (empagliflozin)?
Jardiance is an FDA-approved prescription medication that is used to:
- lower blood sugar levels in conjunction with exercise and diet in adults with type 2 diabetes
- reduce the risk of cardiovascular death in adults with type 2 diabetes who also have a known cardiovascular disease
- reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and hospitalization for heart failure in adults with heart failure, when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the rest of the body
This medication is not used for the treatment of type 1 diabetes or for lowering blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes who have severe kidney problems.
Jardiance contains the active ingredient empagliflozin and belongs to a class of drugs known as sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. It works by blocking the reabsorption of blood sugar (glucose) by the kidneys, increasing glucose excretion in urine, and lowering blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes. It is manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and Lilly.
Jardiance was approved by the FDA on October 14, 2014 and is available as a tablet in the strengths 5 mg and 10 mg. The usual starting dose is 10mg. Swallow the tablets whole with water and do not chew the tablets.
Jardiance side effects
The most common side effects of Jardiance are urinary tract infections and yeast infections in females.
The most serious side effects of Jardiance are:
- ketoacidosis (increased ketones in your blood or urine)
- serious urinary tract infections
- low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- necrotizing fasciitis
- vaginal yeast infection
- yeast infection of the penis
- allergic (hypersensitivity) reactions
If you experience any side effects or possible signs of an allergic reaction while taking this medication, speak with your healthcare provider right away. You are also encouraged to report negative side effects to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
How much does Jardiance cost?
The cost of Jardiance varies depending on your health insurance coverage and your insurance plan’s coverage for this medication. Speak with your insurance broker or pharmacist to find out if your health insurance plan covers this medication under its formulary.
For individuals who do not have prescription drug coverage for this medication, Jardiance costs around $570.48 per month, according to the manufacturer.
For those with private prescription drug coverage (eg. commercial insurance through an employer or private plan), the actual cost or co-pay will depend on your insurance plan’s drug coverage. Each insurance plan is different and will determine your out-of-pocket cost for this medication. On average, 90% of people with private insurance coverage will pay between $0–$40 per month for Jardiance, and the remaining 10% will pay $227 per month on average. You could pay as little as $0 per month with the Jardiance Savings card, if eligible.
Around 63% of people with Medicare Part D coverage will pay between $0–$50 a month for Jardiance, with the remaining 37% will be around $161 per month. The out-of-pocket costs could vary throughout the year depending on whether or not you have reached your plan’s deductible amount (‘donut hole’). Medicare Part D enrollees may also qualify for the Extra Help program, and the average cost for Jardiance is between $4 and $10 a month when enrolled in Extra Help.
Medicaid enrollees have estimated co-pay costs between $0 to $10 per month, on average.
For those with TRICARE prescription drug coverage, the co-pay will vary depending on where the medication is dispensed. If the medication is dispensed at a military hospital, the co-pay will be $0. If dispensed at a retail pharmacy, the co-pay will be $33 for a 30-day supply. If dispensed by mail order, the co-pay will be $29 for a 90-day supply.
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Why is Jardiance so expensive?
There are several reasons why Jardiance and other brand-name medications are so expensive in the United States:
Generic Jardiance is not yet available
Jardiance is only available as a brand-name drug and there are currently no generic drug alternatives available in the United States.
The patents for Jardiance are expected to expire on October 14, 2029, which is the earliest possible date that a generic version of Jardiance can be approved by the FDA for sale in the United States. Until then, people who are prescribed Jardiance will need to continue purchasing the brand-name version of this medication.
Generic drugs are generally less expensive than brand-name drugs because generic pharmaceutical companies do not incur the research and development (R&D) and marketing costs that the original proprietor of the drug must invest to develop and bring the drug to market.
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Patent law protection
When a pharmaceutical company first invents and develops a new drug, that company is given an exclusive patent for that drug by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This exclusive patent gives the pharmaceutical company the sole right to sell the drug while it is in effect. The patent protection period is intended to enable the pharmaceutical company to recoup its investment in researching and developing the drug.
The length of time that a patent is in effect varies depending on the type of drug, but it is typically 20 years from the date that the patent application was filed with the USPTO.
Jardiance is protected by U.S. patents that are set to expire on October 14, 2029. After the patents expire, generic pharmaceutical companies will be able to request FDA authorization to register and sell the generic version of Jardiance which will facilitate the lowering of the price of this medication as multiple generic pharmaceutical companies will compete for market share with their own generic version of the drug.
Americans are paying the highest brand-name drug prices in the world. In contrast to other developed nations, the U.S. government does not regulate the prices of prescription drugs. As the patent provides a 20-year monopoly to the proprietor of the drug, it is common for the price of the medication to continually increase before the expiration of the patent.
To provide further insight into the high cost of pharmaceuticals in the U.S., RAND concluded a study that showed that medication prices in the U.S. are on average 2.56 times higher than in other OECD countries. Furthermore, AARP conducted a study that concluded that prescription drug price increases continue to outpace the rate of inflation.
How do I save on Jardiance?
Jardiance is an expensive brand-name medication, especially for those who do not have prescription drug coverage or have high copays for this medication. Fortunately, there are a few options that be able to help you save money on Jardiance:
- Jardiance Savings Card – the manufacturer offers a savings card to help save money. Those who qualify will pay as little as $10 per month for a 1-month to a 3-month supply. Make sure to review the latest terms and conditions on the manufacturer’s website to find the latest eligibility requirements.
- Patient assistance programs – find out if you are eligible for enrollment into a patient assistance program for Jardiance.
- Ask your prescribing doctor for free Jardiance samples – most pharmaceutical companies will give free medication samples to healthcare providers to help their patients get started on the medication.
- Get medical advice from your healthcare professional and find out if there are any alternative medicines for your medical condition – ask your prescribing doctor if there are any less expensive alternatives to Jardiance.
- Shop around for the lowest price at multiple mail-order pharmacies – medication prices vary by pharmacy so it is recommended to always check pricing at multiple pharmacies to find the lowest possible Jardiance price.
- Jardiance coupons – find out if there is a Jardiance manufacturer coupon that can help you save money on this medication.
- Get help from Medicaid – find out if you are eligible for a state Medicaid plan that covers the cost of Jardiance.