How do I get Lantus (or Glargine) Less Expensively?

DCIN has received this question hundreds of times over the last few years.  Truthfully, Lantus is actually the cheapest insulin per unit of insulin; the problem lies in the upfront costs.  So this article will discuss ways to reduce the upfront cost of Lantus or Levemir.

Let’s talk about Lantus (active ingredient: glargline).  Lantus is an insulin that was designed for once-per-day use in humans.  It turns out that Lantus, when dosed twice per day, is excellent at controlling feline diabetes and getting cats into remission.  The generic name for Lantus is insulin glargine.  There are now a few “generic versions” of Lantus; it’s worth asking your veterinarian for a prescription that allows substitutions of Basaglar, Semglee, or glargine insulin.  

    • Lantus is a U-100 insulin (100 units of insulin per 1 mL of fluid).
    • Lantus comes in 10 mL vials or 3 mL pens.
    • Lantus is prescription only in the United States, over-the-counter (no prescription required) in Canada.
    • Lantus should be refrigerated at all times.
    • Lantus should be handled gently.
    • Lantus that is refrigerated and handled gently can last 3-6 months from date of first use.

The price of Lantus at a pharmacy in the United States is approximately $220 for a vial and $285 for a 5-pack of the pens.  Are you suffering from sticker shock?  The price of Novolin N or Vetsulin might seem more doable right now but let’s consider these facts.

    • Novolin N is $26 at Walmart and Vetsulin is about $45 from your vet.
    • Each of them is only good for about 30-45 days from the date of first use.
    • Your annual cost for a cat on a typical dose of insulin is $208-$312 for Novalin and $360-$540 for Vetsulin.
    • Only the start-up costs are lower.  The annual costs are much higher, these insulins have less success at remission, these insulins may require dosing more frequently than every 12 hours,
  • The annual price of Lantus is only $285 if you pay retail at a pharmacy.

So now we hopefully have you sold on the idea of buying Lantus (or a generic glargine) in the pens.

What if your vet or pharmacist insists you need the pen needle? You say “no thank you” and buy regular insulin syringes. You treat the pen as you would a vial except that you don’t need to inject any air. There is a small rubber stopper at the end of the pen similar to the rubber stopper on the vial.

Some pharmacies will sell a pen of Lantus, Levemir, or Basaglar individually. Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, BJ’s and Target have all been known to sell individual pens; but it does seem to be up to the individual store. You do NOT have to be a member of BJ’s or Costco to use their pharmacy.

You can also order from Canada. Many hundreds of people have ordered from Marks Marine Pharmacy; their link is They do ship insulin year round, but it best to not order in the extreme cold of winter or heat of summer. It is harder to keep insulin from freezing than it is to keep it cool. Lantus is $165 for a pack of 5 pens; shipping is $25.

You can order individual pens online from some pet pharmacies. The price per pen may be higher than buying a 5-pack from the pharmacy, but the one-time cost is lower.

And just to be thorough and give fair warning, the prescription coupons and savings cards online work with very little success.  It’s okay to try them, but be prepared for failure.

If you have any questions or run across some other ideas, please message our Facebook page or send an email to