Januvia (sitagliptin)The Type 2 diabetes drug Januvia (sitagliptin) has become a source of controversy after the drug’s maker, Merck, funded a letter to doctors by CVS Caremark, the pharmacy benefits manager, urging the physicians to add the drug to specific patients’ treatment regimens.

Januvia costs as much as 10 times the price of older diabetes drugs such as metformin and glipizide xl. (Note: Januvia purchased from a Canadian pharmacy costs about half as much as from a U.S. pharmacy — though it is still significantly more expensive than metformin and glipizide.)

Beyond the apparent conflict of interest in CVS Caremark’s letter, the question most important to patients is whether Januvia’s superiority over older, cheaper diabetes drugs makes it worth the additional cost.

The answer is, it depends.

Amy at Diabetes Mine points out that Merck has been pushing the drug very hard, and that while it appears to be effective, there are also concerns about safety and side effects.

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If you have Type 2 diabetes and are considering Januvia, or your doctor has already recommended it to you, make sure to discuss the pros and cons thoroughly — and don’t be afraid to remind your doctor of Januvia’s additional cost. Physicians often forget to factor cost into their decisions on which drugs to prescribe, so it’s important to speak up.

And if you do end up taking Januvia, be sure to ask for free samples whenever you visit your doctor.

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

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0 thoughts on “Is Januvia worth the price?

  • Indrish Chandra says:

    Dear Sir,
    I am using Januvia for the last four weeks. Of late I am feeling that while passing urine the stream of urine is leaner. I do not know whether my kidneys will get affected in future. Presently alll report of kindney function are within limits.

  • I was prescribed Januvia and only after a few months I felt great, like my old self again and was even able to get some weight off and keep it off! This year the only insurance we’re offered has an extremly high deductible and doesn’t have prescription coverage until after you meet the high deductible. Consequently, I can no longer afford to take Januvia.

  • Westley Brenton says:

    My current supplier’s 90 day supply out-of-pocket cost is $70.32 (50mg)
    Taken once a day. They do not list a generic so I assume that none exists.
    I can go to the internet and find the same for as low as $27.32 for a 90 day supply. Why does my supplier cost so much more since the only ones that can be offered is the Brand Name Drug????

  • i had been taken mtemorfin and change insurance then had a different dr. when they called regarding my lab results i was informed that he changed my medication to to januvia. i have been taking it now for 6 weeks and have noticed no difference. does anyone know the advantage of this change as the cost is 20 times more.

  • Charles Bradsher says:

    My doctor put me on Junivia about 4 weeks ago. I also take glimepride. Before Junivia my blood sugar was running around 170. Since I started on Junivia my blood sugar is running around 127. No side effects. The only problem is the cost of the medicine.
    Charles Bradsher

  • I dont know my website…should I?
    Unless my Dr. is able to subscribe. I will not be able to buy Januvia at the price Walgreens charges..($50.00) for I month.
    There has to be something out there that is lower priced..NIna R. Santiago

  • I don’t where you guys find these prices… I just filled my husband’s prescription for Januvia without insurance and the cost is $206.00 for one-month supply of 100mg! I shopped around, at Wallmart, walgreen and Costco, all the same price!

  • Already a diabetic, my levels got worse during my pregnancy. my doctor added januvia to my metformin. I had readings of 100 to 110 throughout my pregnancy. Januvia saved my life and that of my baby. He was born a perfect 8 lbs 2 oz.

  • I was at Kaiser Pharmacy to pick up this new medication called Januvia, and I was so surprice for the price of medication. Kaiser is charging me for 100 tablet for $1,461. I did not bought it since it is my whole month pay check, are they carzr?

  • I was just this week, diagnosed with type II. Got an Rx for Metaformin and Januvia. Took it to CVS. Asked the price of Januvia. $522 or $460 with their Care card. (self-pay) Told ’em no. If I wish to be robbed, I’ll shop in da hood.

  • I cannot believe anyone would take Januvia during pregnancy! This drug is too new, there were no studies done on pregnant women, and there is no way to know what the long term effects on your child may be. Insulin has been tried and true and safe and should have been the choice that afforded you excellent control without hurting your baby or putting the baby at risk for the unknown complication.

  • It is a crime that drug companies charge these outlandish prices when in fact the government helps support the research that goes into the medications. Conspiracy…perhaps. Your government at work again.

  • Bill Clark says:

    I have been taking Januvia as well as metformin for 18 months. Cost per month for Januvia is $110.00. have had great success with treatments but now Dr. wants me to take 200 mg per day. Anyone know of effects this may bring?

  • George Carrera says:

    I’m concerned about the possible conflict of interest between pharmaceuticals and
    doctors prescribing Januvia. I currently take both metformin and januvia for my Type 2.
    An article in the current AARP Bulletin states, “Very often, patients with diabetes can avoid drugs altogether by losing weight, excersising more and stopping smoking.
    At 78, I excercise daily, I’m a lean machine, and I have never smoked.
    Can I ask my doctor to take me off Januvia without raising his ire?

  • There are coupons online for januvia that you can print and take to the pharmacist. The first coupon is for the first month free. Then you can get it for about $5 a month with the card you print out. I googled it and found it

  • Please contact merck medco directly. They have a patient assistance program for people who have no insurance or who may have insurance but may alo be taking very expensive meds that they’re already paying for. Last year, I didn’t have insurance and I made less than $42,000 a year so I qualified to get them free for 12 months. My application is due again and this time around I not only have no insurance, but I’m unemployed at the moment as well. So please look into this program cause nothing is better than free.

  • I too can’t understand why januvia is so expensive, my husband takes metformin and he has normal blood sugars. My doc will have to change mine or else I will find a doc that will change it.

  • I was just given the prescription for Januvia, but I am seriously thinking of not taking it at at all. I didn’t even know I had diabetes 2… and yes, i had some symptoms of diabetes, but in view of the side effects and the cost, I would rather watch my diet and exercise and see how things develop…

  • Never use this drug. You will realize only after alongperiodofusagesay5or 10years..You will suffer from irrepairable damage I used it hadblosting problems d developed back pain.I think blood thickens andwith blood thickening you have other problems.

  • First it came out in large pretty boxes, A large pill. The last I got they were brown pills in a small bottle. So change to a cheaper package and increase the price. I had to check the Internet before I would take one. They are making millions and a generic cannot be made foe 26 years after the first release. Good business for them.

  • I was just in the hospital and charged 92.85 for 1 (one!!) 50mg dose of Januvia. That equates to $2,785.50 for one 30 day prescription if I were to have to pay that price at the pharmacy. This is plain rediculous.

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