The price of insulin is a highly contentious talking point. The average diabetic can spend thousands of dollars per month on insulin, which makes Walmart's latest release a pivotal healthcare move.
Recently, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) released its own insulin pen to compete with high-priced alternatives. But is it safe?
What brand is Walmart insulin?
Walmart's brand of insulin is under the name ReliOn. It's a private label version called ReliOn NovoLog, from an analog product created by Danish multinational pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.
Walmart's ReliOn NovoLog insulin product joins an existing line of in-store ReliOn products like ketone and blood glucose test strips, lancing devices, blood glucose monitoring systems, and more.
Walmart insulin could be as much as $250 cheaper
Walmart says that people could save more than $100 per vial of insulin and up to $250 per pack of insulin pens. This could benefit people without health insurance or those who can't afford regular brands. At checkout, people can expect to pay about $73 per vial and $86 per pack of prefilled pens.
Walmart expects its newly launched insulin product to be in stores this week. The company expects Sam's Club members to gain access to the product sometime in mid-July.
Walmart's new low-price insulin product will compete with high-price competitors and contribute to the retailer's "everyday low price" mantra. According to the CDC, 10.5 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes, with an estimated 7.3 million people still undiagnosed.
Is Walmart insulin safe?
Walmart's new offering is the first analog insulin that's offered as a private brand, and it's a big deal.
Walmart already offers an older insulin version that's reportedly less effective and sells at just $25. The new product is an analog insulin, which is the preferred product for modern diabetic management.
Analog insulin is slightly more effective than human NPH (Neutral Protamine Hagedorn) insulin, if at all. But it's also usually a lot more expensive (about 800–1,200 percent more expensive, to be specific). As a result, analog insulin can act as a barrier for people to get access to the medicine they need. Many doctors are still having patients rely on human insulin to get the job done. For many people, it's enough.
However, Walmart is beginning to change the dynamic.
Investors return to Walmart stock following low-cost insulin news
Walmart's low-cost analog insulin announcement has made waves in the stock market. WMT stock is up 3.06 percent by mid-day on June 30 following the news. This comes after a months-long sell-off that has left the company in the red from a YTD perspective.
The new pharmaceutical product has the potential to push WMT back over the threshold and into the green.
Insulin revenue could put Walmart on the map come earnings season
The company's latest earnings report showed a 2.7 percent revenue boost sequentially. While analysts predicted a $1.21 EPS, the company beat that by a landslide at $1.69 adjusted. With revenue from the upcoming insulin sales, Walmart's earnings could continue to impress through the rest of the fiscal year.