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New Diabetes Medications Cost 100 Times More than Established Treatments


by Gary Pepper, M.D.

“New is not always better.” This caution seems reasonable when considering the value of the recently approved medications for treatment of Type 2 (adult type) diabetes.  These drugs include three new classes of medication referred to as GLP-1 analogs, DPP-4 inhibitors and most recently SGLT-2 inhibitors. The focus of this discussion will be the most widely prescribed of the newcomers, the DPP-4 inhibitors.

The first thing consumers will notice about thehttp://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-expensive-medicine-image3053770 new diabetes medications are their TV commercial friendly names,  Januvia, Onglyza, Tradjenta, and Nesina.  Mix these newcomer drugs together into a single pill with the venerable low cost generic metformin and the names becomes Janumet, Kombiglyze, Jentadueto, and Kazano.

The next thing a consumer will notice is the price tag. At the local pharmacy in Jupiter, Florida the retail prices of a 3 month supply of Januvia, Onglyza or Tradjenta are all about $1100.  A three month supply of the established generic drug, glipizide, is $9.99 and metformin is between zero and $41. Continue reading