How Much Does Copaxone Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

Copaxone, a brand name prescription drug used to help reduce the frequency of relapses for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, is also available as a generic, glatiramer acetate or also under the name, Glatopa.

How much does Copaxone cost?

The costs of Copaxone will depend on a few factors, and like most prescriptions, these factors will include the pharmacy you choose, your health insurance policy and whether you want the generic or brand name drug.  Since pharmacies will fill the generic version of drug unless otherwise stated on the prescription, you will find your health insurance policy will only cover the generic version, not the brand name.

Based upon the factors mentioned above, the costs of Copaxone, from the pharmacies we called, ranged anywhere from $7,000 to $7,500 for one carton of 30 syringes of 20mg/ml branded version to as little as $1,900 to $3,900 for the generic version, Glatopa.  These prices, again, based on the factors mentioned above, greatly depended upon the pharmacy you picked out, with Walmart, Walgreens and CVS being the cheapest option.

As stated, your health insurance company, including Medicare, will cover the prescription, with the average co-pay greatly vary depending on your policy, with most people reporting paying anywhere from as little as $15 to more than $5,000+ if they didn’t meet their deductible for the year.  As there are thousands of policies, it’s hard to tell you exactly what you should be paying, so to be certain, we recommend you talk with your pharmacy and health insurance company to know what you will be responsible for.

In this Spokesman.com article, for instance, the writer, Joe Graedon, talked about his niece Cindy who had multiple sclerosis and would take one 20-milligram injection of Copaxone each day for close to $4,600 per month.

How to save on Copaxone

Manufacturer assistance program:  The official manufacturer of the drug, Novartis, offers the Novartis Patient Assistance Foundation, a patient assistance foundation that is dedicated to helping people save money on their prescriptions.  To be eligible, however, you will need to meet certain eligibility requirements such as being a U.S. resident, meet the income requirements mentioned on the page and have limited prescription coverage.  If you do qualify, you could pay as little as nothing for your prescription.  To see if you qualify, follow this link, fill out the application or call 1-800-277-2254 to start the process.

Additional assistance programs:  Whether you do not qualify for the manufacturer assistance program or want to search for help elsewhere, effectively increasing your odds of lowering your prescription costs, there are other programs willing to help you pay for the costs as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.  Just like the manufacturer assistance program, other requirements may be a factor such as having a specific diagnosis or health insurance policy, for example.  Some popular assistance programs to check out include the Good Days Patient Assistance Program and  PAN Foundation Patient Assistance Program, to name a few.

Visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society:  The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has a financial assistance program and support to help you find out various ways to save on medication if you cannot afford it, even with health insurance.  To learn more, you can speak with a navigator at 800-344-4867 or visit their official website.

Health insurance:  Of course, check with your health insurance policy to see if they cover the prescription, which, as mentioned, they should at least cover the generic version.  Either search your insurance company’s drug database or call directly to see what you may be responsible for.

What is Copaxone?

As a subcutaneously injected medication, it is used to help reduce the flare-ups of the elapsing-remitting form of multiple sclerosis, and while the exact mechanism is unknown at this time, some studies found online indicate it works by modifying the immune process that is known to be responsible for MS, essentially working by suppressing the white blood cells, thereby reducing the white blood cells attacking the nerves and migration. In the end, this suppressing can help reduce the flare-up of MS and MS lesions.

Copaxone side effects

Commonly seen side effects may include redness at the injection site, itching at the injection site, an injection site mass, nausea, chest pains or flu-like symptoms.  More serious side effects, which need immediate medical attention, can include a shortness of breath, swollen lymph nodes or tissue death.  As always, with any adverse side effects, it’s important to contact your doctor immediately.

How effective is it?

According to the clinical studies cited by RXeconsult.com, the efficiency of the medication found that, in the first trial, 56% of the patients who received 20 milligrams per mL of Copaxone daily didn’t experience any exacerbation in comparison to the 28% from the placebo group.  In the second trial cited, 34% of the patients who received 20 milligrams per mL of the medication didn’t experience any exacerbation in comparison to the 27% from the placebo group.  In the third trial, 49% of the patients who received 20 milligrams per mL of the medication didn’t experience any exacerbation in comparison to the 24.7% from the placebo group.

In the fourth trial, as cited by the same website, patients who received a 40-milligram dosage per mL three times per week, 33.1% of the patients who received the medication didn’t experience any exacerbation in comparison to the 50.5% from the placebo group.  Lastly, in the fifth trial, doctors measured the lesions found during a nine-month period, with an average of 11 lesions found for those who took the medication in comparison to 17 in the placebo group.

Tips to know

The higher 40 milligrams per mL dosage was approved by the FDA for relapsing-remitting MS on January of 2014.

The injection comes as two dosages:  20 or 40 mg per mL, with 20 mg per mL being the most common option.  The 20 mg per mL dosage is indicated for subcutaneous use only and is prefilled, administered once daily, while the 40 mg per mL dosage, also a subcutaneous injection, is used three times a week, about 48 hours apart.

This medication should be stored in a refrigerator, at about 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit; however, if unable to store in one, it can be stored at room temperature for up to 30 days.


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