Nucala (mepolizumab) is a brand-name subcutaneous injection prescribed for asthma, nasal polyps, and other conditions. The cost of the drug with and without insurance can depend on several factors, such as whether Nucala has a savings program.
Nucala belongs to a drug class called interleukin blockers. Nucala is not available in a biosimilar version.
Nucala comes in three forms for subcutaneous injection:
- liquid solution given by your doctor or another healthcare professional
- liquid solution in a prefilled single-dose syringe that you’ll give yourself
- liquid solution in a prefilled single-dose autoinjector that you’ll give yourself
Your doctor will prescribe the form of Nucala that’s right for you.
Read on to learn about Nucala and its cost, as well as how to save money on prescriptions. If you’d like other information about Nucala, refer to this article.
As with all medications, the cost of Nucala can vary. Factors that may affect the price you’ll pay include:
- your treatment plan
- the form of Nucala your doctor prescribes
- your insurance coverage
- the pharmacy you use
- the cost of the visit to your healthcare professional to receive doses of Nucala
- whether Nucala has a savings program (see the “Financial and insurance assistance” section below)
To find out what the cost of Nucala will be for you, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
Below is information you may want to consider if you have insurance and receive Nucala.
Prior authorization. If you have insurance, your insurance company may require prior authorization before it covers Nucala. This means the company and your doctor will discuss Nucala in regard to your treatment. The insurance company will then determine whether to cover the medication. If a drug requires prior authorization, but you start treatment without the prior approval, you could pay the full cost of the medication. You can ask your insurance company whether Nucala requires prior authorization.
Type of insurance coverage. Nucala may be given by your doctor. If you have insurance, the price of your Nucala doses may be billed through your medical coverage instead of the prescription drug portion of your insurance plan. This depends on your specific insurance plan and where you receive your Nucala doses, such as at your doctor’s office, an infusion clinic, or a hospital. If you have questions about this process, contact your doctor or your insurance provider.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about drug cost and Nucala.
Is Nucala covered by Medicare?
Medicare may cover some of the cost of Nucala treatment. For example, Medicare Part B covers part of the cost of some drugs that a doctor gives in a healthcare setting. Some forms of Nucala are given by your doctor and others you self-inject.
For more information about Nucala and Medicare, see the “Next steps” section below. You can also talk with your Medicare plan provider or doctor about the cost of your Nucala injections.
Does Nucala cost more than Dupixent?
Possibly, but what you’ll pay for either Nucala or Dupixent depends on certain factors. These include:
- your insurance coverage
- your treatment plan
- the pharmacy you use
- drug savings programs
If you have insurance, ask your plan provider how Nucala and Dupixent costs compare. You can also talk with your pharmacist and doctor. They can help determine the cost of Nucala compared to Dupixent. For information about Nucala savings programs, see the “Financial and insurance assistance” section below.
If you have questions about which medication is right for your condition, talk with your doctor.
Nucala contains the active ingredient mepolizumab, and it’s available only as a brand-name biologic drug. It doesn’t come in a biosimilar version. A biosimilar medication is a drug that’s similar to a brand-name biologic drug (the parent drug). Also, biosimilars tend to cost less than brand-name medications.
WHY ARE COSTS DIFFERENT FOR BIOLOGIC DRUGS VS. BIOSIMILAR DRUGS?
Biologic drugs can be expensive because of the research needed to test their safety and effectiveness. The manufacturer of a biologic drug can sell it for up to
12 years. When the biologic drug’s patent expires, multiple manufacturers can create biosimilar versions. This marketplace competition may lead to lower costs for biosimilars. Also, because biosimilars are similar to biologic drugs, they don’t require the same costly testing.
If you self-inject Nucala long term, you may be able to lower its cost in the following ways.
Getting a 3-month supply
You may be able to get a 90-day supply of Nucala. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
Using a mail-order pharmacy
Nucala may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this type of service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to receive your medication without leaving home. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications. You may also be able to get a 90-day supply of the drug via mail order.
If you don’t have health insurance, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest online pharmacy options that could work for you.
If you need financial support to pay for Nucala or help to understand your insurance coverage, help is available. For example:
- A patient assistance program called GSK for You is available for Nucala. For more information and to find out whether you’re eligible for support, call 844-468-2252 or visit the program website.
- The Nucala Co-pay Program is available for use with certain types of insurance. For more information, call 800-691-1939 or visit the program website.
- Some websites provide details about drug assistance programs, ways to make the most of your insurance coverage, and links to savings cards and other services. Two such websites are:
To learn more about saving money on prescriptions with or without insurance, check out this article.
Now that you’ve learned about cost and Nucala, you may still have some questions. It may be helpful to talk with your doctor or pharmacist, who can provide personalized guidance about cost issues related to Nucala. But if you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to learn the actual cost you’d pay for Nucala.
Here are some other resources you may find helpful:
- Medicare drug coverage. To learn about Medicare coverage for drugs, see these articles about Medicare prescription drug plans, drug coupons and Medicare, and the Medicare drug list.
- More details. For details about other aspects of Nucala, refer to this article.
- Side effects. For details about Nucala’s side effects, see this article. You can also look at the Nucala prescribing information.
- Information about your condition. For information about the conditions that Nucala treats, see our asthma and allergies hub.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.