Victoza is a prescription GLP-1 agonist that can treat type 2 diabetes and manage certain cardiovascular health risks associated with type 2 diabetes. It is administered via an injection, but it is important to understand that it is not a replacement for insulin.(Learn More)
Victoza can be expensive, costing an average retail price of $1,126.89 for a one-month supply (three pens). There are few alternatives besides the drug Jardiance, which is similarly expensive.
There is some debate whether other GLP-1 agonists are understudied and could serve a similar role at a cheaper cost. (Learn More)
People with insurance will rarely pay the full cost for Victoza. Most insurance providers will cover Victoza to some degree. Additionally, if your medication is denied, you can request help from a doctor to get an exception so you receive coverage.
Those without coverage may find it difficult to get affordable prescription medication. If you are unable to afford your medication, there are some resources available to help. (Learn More)
A valid question is sometimes raised as to whether the pricing of expensive medications is fair, especially when the profit margin is far above manufacturing costs. Whether the U.S. should enforce stricter pricing laws for drugs is hotly debated.
What Is Victoza?
The drug is not a substitute for insulin and should only be used as intended. It is not an effective treatment for type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis.
If you also take insulin, the two drugs should not be mixed together. They can be administered to the same general area of the body but should not be administered directly next to each other.
If you are unfamiliar with how to properly take either Victoza or insulin, ask your doctor regarding the safest and most effective way to take your prescription drugs.
The Cost of Victoza
In the United States, Victoza is somewhat notorious for its high cost.
The drug can cost upward of $900 with an average retail price of $1,126.89. This can be distressing for many users and doctors, as people with type 2 diabetes can greatly benefit from Victoza or Jardiance, which is similar in both effect and cost.
This can put patients and prescribers in a tough situation. There is also some debate as to whether other GLP-1 agonists may be similarly effective and are simply understudied.
Whatever the case may be, there are ways to get a better price if you are prescribed Victoza.
Getting the Best Price
Most insurance policies will cover Victoza. While the exact mechanics of individual insurance policies vary greatly, as there are so many, someone whose insurance covers Victoza will be paying far less than someone who is uninsured.
While a manufacturer obviously has a bias toward speaking as positively as legally possible about their product, Victoza’s producer Novo Nordisk has set up a website to help people learn more about the drug. Included on this site are some tools and links to help patients get covered and/or reimbursed.
Another option is to ask your health care professional if you qualify for Novo Nordisk’s Victoza savings card, which can help eligible patients save money.
If your insurance rejects coverage of your prescription, you have a few options.
- Ask your doctor to request an exception. This is a process by which a doctor requests your medication be covered even when it ordinarily is not. Generally, your doctor will have to show the medication is essential and that no equal alternative is available that is covered.
- Ask your doctor about alternative medications. Your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternate medication that is covered and can fit the same niche. Presently, Jardiance is the only alternative that is known to fill the exact same role. Similar but potentially less effective options are also available, and these may be cheaper.
- File a formal appeal. This is generally a last resort. If your doctor’s request for an exception was denied, you can then file a formal appeal. If you reach this stage, be sure to thoroughly research the format, all needed materials, and properly go through the process. Skipping a step can significantly prolong the process.
If you are uninsured or otherwise cannot get Victoza covered, you may end up needing to pay out of pocket. Websites like the Patient Advocate Foundation exists to help people find the cheapest way to pay for medications while uninsured, but it can be a complicated process with sometimes frustrating results.
Contact your local state insurance commissioner’s office and ask about their state drug assistance programs. It may be possible to get help paying for your medications that way.
You can also get a prescription discount card from prescription coupon sites. These can save you significant money on your prescriptions if you are underinsured.
Is This Pricing Fair?
There has been a great deal of debate in the United States over whether more needs to be done to control drug pricing. In many other countries around the world, pricing is more tightly controlled by their governments to ensure the majority of those who have been prescribed a drug have access to it.
Victoza is expensive in the United States, and it is likely to remain so unless laws are changed. This is not unique to Victoza. Jardiance, its closest alternative, is not dissimilar in price.
The patent on Victoza expires in August 2022. At this point, generic alternatives (which tend to be much cheaper and just as effective) can be produced.
Victoza. (July 2, 2019). RxList.
Victoza Instant Savings Card. Novo Nordisk.
GLP-1 Agonists. GoodRx.
Getting Prescription Medications. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
What to Do When Your Insurance Company Says “No”. (July 5, 2016). Texas Medical Association.
Are Expensive Diabetes Drugs Worth It? (June 23, 2016). MedPageToday.
Dealing With Your Medication Needs when Uninsured. Patient Advocate Foundation.