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Walmart's version of NovoLog insulin will cost $73 per vial. Photo: Walmart

Walmart is now selling rapid-acting insulins, made by drug manufacturer Novo Nordisk, for cash prices of $73 per vial and $86 for a box of five pre-filled syringes.

The big picture: Walmart is attempting to retain and attract more diabetes patients to its stores by offering a more modern insulin at a lower cash price. Novo Nordisk is trying to keep its insulin market share. But this deal doesn't ensure an affordable price for patients and the broader public.

By the numbers: Walmart's prices are steep discounts from Novo Nordisk's standard charges.

  • The current list price for a 10 mL vial of NovoLog is $289.36, compared with Walmart's $72.88 cash price.
  • The current list price for a five-pen box of NovoLog FlexPen is $558.83, compared with Walmart's $85.88 cash price.
  • Novo Nordisk declined to disclose rebates and other price concessions that it pays to insurance companies, pharmacy benefit managers and other middlemen. Walmart and Novo Nordisk also did not disclose their contract price.
  • But according to the Novo Nordisk's own numbers, Walmart's prices are very close to Novo Nordisk's net prices.
  • Last year, Novo Nordisk collected $2.7 billion of revenue from its NovoLog insulins.
  • The big picture: Just like Eli Lilly's own generic insulin, the Walmart-Novo Nordisk insulin will appeal to people who don't have insurance or who face high deductibles and coinsurance rates.

Yes, but: Research suggests insulins like NovoLog can be profitably made and sold for $7 to $9 per vial — still less than eight times the price advertised by Walmart.

  • And depending on how many vials someone needs per month, even at Walmart's prices, this insulin could still be as costly as a car payment.

Go deeper: The boom times of insulin sales

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
6 mins ago - Economy & Business

All about the boards

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

It's been a bad week for the idea that boards of directors are bulwarks against C-suite malfeasance. On the other hand, it's been a good week for rubber stamp manufacturers.

Driving the news: The board of media startup Ozy Media chose not to investigate a blatant fraud perpetrated by one of its top executives against Goldman Sachs, which was in talks to invest in Ozy.

Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senators grill top Pentagon leaders over Biden's Afghanistan exit

Photo: Carolone Brehman/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, and the head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Frank McKenzie, are testifying before Congress for the first time since the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The latest: Austin said in his opening statement that military leaders began planning for a non-combatant evacuation of Kabul as early as the spring, and that this is the only reason U.S. troops were able to start the operation so quickly when the Taliban captured the city. "Was it perfect? Of course not," Austin acknowledged.

Congress must raise the debt limit by Oct. 18, Yellen warns

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during a press conference at the Capitol on Sept. 23. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a letter Tuesday that the United States will likely begin to default on its loans shortly after Oct. 18 if Congress fails to raise or suspend the debt ceiling by then.

Why it matters: The U.S. has never defaulted on its financial obligations, and Yellen has previously warned that doing so would cause irreparable damage to the U.S. economy and global financial markets.

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