Studies have shown that prices for proprietary drugs are substantially higher in the U.S. as compared with other countries with similarly high per capita incomes. Unlike the U.S., many countries implement strict regulations to limit how much a manufacturer can charge for its drugs.
Expensive brand-name drugs, such as Bydureon, Victoza, and Januvia, are typically prescribed to type 2 diabetes patients with an A1C value higher than 9% and have trouble managing their condition with lifestyle changes and metformin (available as a cheap generic) alone.
A brief from the National Center for Healthcare Statistics describes how many diabetics do not take their medications as prescribed in an attempt to lower costs. One fairly common technique to attempt to lower costs is through rationing their medications, which can have devastating effects.
A quick Google search for “rationing insulin” yields many upsetting news stories about Americans who have died from trying to stretch out their insulin supplies or taking cheaper insulin despite side-effects.
Thirty million Americans (and counting) are forced to grapple with the many negative health effects of diabetes, and the high costs of diabetes medications only adds to their burden of living with this condition. But the costs of medications do not just affect diabetics and their families. They also hinder the ability of healthcare practitioners to care for their patients to the best of their ability. Even the most astute, thorough practitioner who is able to make the most accurate diagnoses and prescribe the most effective medications for their patients will not be able to help a diabetic who cannot afford to take their medications.
What is Januvia?
Januvia is a brand of sitagliptin, a medication used along with diet and exercise and sometimes with other medications to lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes (condition in which blood sugar is too high because the body does not produce or use insulin normally).
This therapy may also decrease your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes-related complications such as kidney failure, nerve damage (numb, cold legs or feet; decreased sexual ability in men and women), eye problems, including changes or loss of vision, or gum disease. The lowest GoodRx price for the most common version of Januvia is around $496.81, 17% off the average retail price of $601.09.
Is there a generic for Januvia?
Yes, many countries have generic versions of this drug like Sitagil 100. However, many of this foreign generic version are not FDA approved. A generic version of Januvia may become available in the United States by 2026.
Why is Januvia so expensive?
The lack of generic availability, plus the popularity of the drug, combined with the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the United States, means that there is a high demand for Januvia making the medication quite expensive and unaffordable for many.
Is There A Cheaper Substitute For Januvia
Yes, there are several cheaper substitutes for Januvia that can treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Januvia, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.
Medical news today provides examples of other drugs that may be used to treat type 2 diabetes include:
- linagliptin (Tradjenta)
- metformin (Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Fortamet, Glumetza)
- empagliflozin (Jardiance)
- canagliflozin (Invokana)
- saxagliptin (Onglyza)
- alogliptin (Nesina)
- glipizide (Glucotrol and Glucotrol XL)
- sitagliptin and metformin hydrochloride (Janumet)
- pioglitazone (Actos)
- glimepiride (Amaryl)
- liraglutide (Victoza)
- dulaglutide (Trulicity)
- dapagliflozin (Farxiga)
- semaglutide (Ozempic)
Januvia vs. Tradjenta
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved both Januvia and Tradjenta to treat type 2 diabetes in adults, along with diet and exercise. Januvia contains the drug sitagliptin while Tradjenta contains the drug linagliptin. Januvia and Tradjenta belong to the same class of drugs called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. This means that they work in similar ways in your body. Many of these drugs are covered by Medicare and insurance plans, but some pharmacy coupons or cash prices may offer lower.