Insulin Cost In Canada

Posted on June 18, 2021

There are nearly 7.3% of Canadians with diabetes or prediabetes. Due to the health effects of this condition, most of these people require insulin.

But, the insulin cost in Canada is more than many of these patients can afford. And, the costs are rising.

So, why are insulin costs rising? How much do patients have to pay right now? And, is there any hope for diabetic patients in the future?

If you're interested in learning the answers to these questions and more, keep reading. We've gathered everything that you need to know.

How Much Does Insulin Cost in Canada?

Currently, insulin in Canada costs between $30 to $40 per vial. Unfortunately, this price is only rising.

In fact, the price of insulin in Canada has jumped more than 50% over the years.

Why Has the Cost of Insulin Increased in Canada Over the Last Few Years?

There are several reasons that the price of insulin has increased.

First, it's important to note the price relation to demand. Since there is a rising demand for insulin, it costs more. But, just like any other product, the demand-supply curve still applies.

On top of Canadian demand, we must also account for American demand. Many people in the United States obtain insulin in Canada because their prices are even more inflated.

In the United States, the cost of one insulin vial is as high as $350. So, many diabetic patients come to Canada, furthering driving up the price as a side effect of increased demand.

With these causes, there is also an issue with the new insulin formula. Recently, scientists have produced a more effective formula for insulin. And, while it's a better product, it's also more expensive to make.

Thus, the price per vial of insulin increases even more.

What Is the Monthly Cost of Insulin in Canada?

Most diabetics who use insulin use one to ten vials of insulin a month. Typically, individuals with type two diabetes use more vials of insulin.

Those with type one diabetes use two or three vials per month, while those with type two diabetes use six or more vials. But, this is just the average. Each patient has different needs depending on the severity of their condition.

Given that this is true, the cost of insulin each month can range from $30 per month to $400 per month. 

But that's just the cost of insulin. When it comes to insulin, you need a wide range of medical products. This includes syringes, alcohol swabs, insulin pumps, glucose monitors, test strips, and more.

Given average prices for these items, the monthly costs for treating diabetes come out to $279.65 per month. But, this varies based on the number of insulin vials you're using and the number of insulin treatments you need per day.

Diabetes in Canada

Three million Canadians are living with diabetes. This means that three million Canadians may require insulin at some point in their life.

Whether it's type one diabetes or type two diabetes, both forms of the condition require insulin. Although, a few patients can take medications like Metformin to control their diabetes.

90% of Canadians with diabetes have type two diabetes. This condition is typically diagnosed later in life, whereas type one diabetes is found earlier in life.

The Connection Between Stress and Diabetes

Alone, stress cannot cause diabetes. However, there are some scientific connections between stress and the risk of type two diabetes.

One study found that high levels of stress cause pancreatic cells to halt or slow insulin production. Since insulin is the bodily product that brings our blood glucose levels down, a lack of it can lead to high glucose levels. Thus, the body can develop type two diabetes.

Learning to control your stress can also help your body control stress hormones. Therefore, your stress hormones won't affect your glucose levels.

Stress and Diabetes on the Rise

Unfortunately, the connection between stress and diabetes is becoming critical. With rising stress levels among the Canadian population, we also see a rise in diabetic cases.

While the two aren't directly related, there is much speculation surrounding the upwards trends of both. Although, some experts believe that they're tied through the increase in food intake of stressed individuals.

And, with the recent pandemic, many physicians expect an even further uptick in diabetes and prediabetes cases. Although, again, you could connect the two through uptake in food consumption.

Overall, health experts believe that both stress and diabetes are becoming growing trends in Canada.

Although, there is some hope surrounding the popular self-care movement. The future implications of this movement could help turn the trends of both stress and diabetes. But only time will tell.

Diabetes and the Canadian Healthcare System

As a whole, diabetes is putting more and more strain on Canada's healthcare system. Because the healthcare system in Canada is publicly funded, the implications are even worse.

With each new diabetic patient, there is an increase in the need for public health services for long-term support. But, unfortunately, there is also a loss of productivity because of the increasing resources going into the condition.

Patients with diabetes require more medical care, often from more than one physician. This is not to mention their medication-related needs, which may rise over time depending on the progression of their condition.

Because of all of this treatment demand, Canada is the country that spends the seventh-highest amount of money on diabetes-related expenditures. This totals over $20.5 billion.

Considering Canada's ageing population and upwards diabetes trend, these costs are only expected to rise more.

How Can I Offset the Cost of Insulin?

The cost of diabetes management is different for every patient. It depends on the kind of general health coverage they have and the kind of diabetes they have.

People with diabetes without private insurance may pay as much as 27% of their income. This amount to about $6,800.

People with some coverage will pay less. Those with type two diabetes who have some coverage pay between $2,529 and $2,868. Those with type one diabetes who have some coverage pay between $531 and $5,264.

Those with any health coverage pay even more. In fact, these diabetic patients could spend as much as $15,000 every single year.

We should note that these costs do not include the following:

  • Medical visits
  • Medical transportation
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Specialized home healthcare visits
  • Rehabilitation
  • Permanent residential care

With these included, the costs would be thousands higher.

Because of these high costs, many Canadians with diabetes aren't compliant with their medications. As a result, they may skip doctors' appointments or hold out on insulin doses.

This kind of maltreatment for the condition can lead to diabetic emergencies and even death.

Community Help

In the face of all of these medical bills, some people with diabetes are reaching out to their local communities. There are GoFund pages and other fundraisers dedicated to individuals who are struggling with paying for their healthcare.

And, with an increasing public awareness of the costs of diabetes, there are more social reforms in motion related to it. As a result, many people are hoping for lower costs in the future.

What Are Some of the Best Ways Diabetics Can Take Care of Themselves?

We don't recommend skipping your medications or lowering your required insulin doses. But, there are some ways that you can save money on your diabetes care.

By following this advice, you could lower your requirement for insulin and medication naturally. Thus, you may be able to save money.

Diet for Diabetics

You should make sure that you're eating meals that are high in nutrients.

Focus on eating three regular meals every single day. These shouldn't be spaced out more than six hours apart from one another. If you don't eat regularly, you could further damage the regulation of your insulin levels. We've taken a deep dive into proper diabetic nutrition and that piece can be found here.

Exercise for Diabetics

Physical activity is vital for diabetes, especially for those with type two diabetes. Regular exercise can help you gain better glycemic control while lowering your blood pressure.

Health experts recommend 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. This is in addition to resistance exercises at least twice a week.

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Foot Care for Diabetics

One of the worst side effects of diabetes is foot problems. This is because diabetes can cause nerve damage (neuropathy) in the feet, leading to decreased feeling in the legs.

This means that diabetes may not feel if they have a cut or blister on their feet. So, they could be forming an infection without knowing it. Serious infections could lead to amputations.

You should take the time to care for your feet to ensure that this doesn't happen to you.

Getting Quality Health Insurance

If you're going to handle the insulin cost in Canada, you need to have quality healthcare.

Luckily, our team here at Insurdinary has pulled together a list of health insurance in Canada. And we can help you get a health insurance quote.

When it comes to your health, you can't cut corners. So, let us help you cut the cost.

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