The Price of Lialda

Jodi M fullIntroduction:

I am a 47 years old woman, and I was diagnosed with UC in March 2013. I’m still learning about this disease. I also have lupus, and I guess it’s not uncommon for people with lupus to also have UC.

Some more about me:

I work in the medical field as a Respiratory Therapist. I love to read and play music (guitar and piano). I’m engaged to a wonderful guy, and have three awesome children. I live in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina.


cramping, mucus, bleeding, diarrhea, bloating, lack of appetite, weight loss

The Price of Lialda

I was diagnosed with UC in March 2013. I was immediately prescribed Lialda (and graciously given a month’s worth of medication samples from my GI docs office) and Canasa. Symptoms improved slightly, but I was still in bad shape. So a course of Prednisone was added. I also take Immodium frequently, although I’m not sure if it helps or not. The GI doc wanted to add the Rowasa enema to the mix, but I couldn’t handle nightly enemas. I’m now off the Prednisone and doing ok most days, with some bad days mixed in. I had been taking my medication as prescribed. With my insurance and a Lialda discount card, I had been able to fill my monthly Lialda prescription for $10. Then I changed jobs and my insurance changed. So I had to go off the Lialda for a few months until the insurance from my new job started. My symptoms did it worse, but I limped along just waiting for my new insurance. So I was finally able to get a refill on Friday a nd went to pick it up. I gave the pharmacy my new insurance info, and my discount card. The price without insurance would have ben $949.00!!!! But I was still thinking it would be the same as with my previous insurance. Silly me! After they figured it all out, with my insurance and the Lialda discount card, the price dropped to $775.00!! That is almost as much as my house payment!! So obviously, I couldn’t get the medication, and I won’t be able to get it unless I win the lottery.

Soooo…. my question for fellow UC’ers is this:

Are there other medications that treat UC that are not so ridiculously expensive?? With insurance, my Canasa suppositories are $50 per month, but I don’t feel like JUST the Canasa is enough. Does anyone have any suggestions of medications that have been effective for them that don’t require me to get a second mortgage? Thanks!


Currently using Canasa suppositories. I’m supposed to be taking Lialda, but I can’t afford it.

written by Jodi M

submitted in the colitis venting area

31 thoughts on “The Price of Lialda”

  1. Hello. I was prescribed Asacol a long time ago and it was over $200 for that. I was 19 at the time so $200 was a lot to me. Then I was prescribed Asacol HD but my insurance refused to pay for it. I ended up on balsalazide disodium. Didn’t help much.

  2. Check out your insurance prices for Apriso, Asacol HD, and Colazal (available as the generic balsalazide). I’m on Apriso and they have a discount card that makes it $10. There is also a savings card for the Canasa that makes it $40.

    I was on Colazal for many months. It’s cheap but not as convenient. You have to take 3 pills 3 times a day.

  3. I had he same problem I take balsalazide disodium instead it is around $100 a month, but a $700 a month savings for me. I do have to take 9 pills a day (3, 3x a day) but worth it. I also take 100 mg Azathioprine a day it is the generic of imuran. Not too pricey. I had to ask my doctor for an older medication to replace the Lialda. They always prescribe the newer drugs that are crazy expensive and I have found the savings cards only help $50-$200, nothing for an expensive drug. Humira was going to cost me $7000 for the first month and $2000 each month after, with the savings card! I said no thank you and have everything pretty much under control without it. I am also 47 and was just diagnosed last December. Still learning this disease :) research drugs and take the info to your Dr. That is what I have had to do. Best wishes!

  4. Also look into Asacol HD. That is what I was on until my new insurance didn’t cover it, and that is when my GI doc switched me to Lialda which I usually pay $15 for, I think.

    Also, are you on a high deductible insurance plan? If so, you usually pay a WHOLE LOT more out of pocket until the deductible is met, and then it will cover 100%. So while your medicine might go up for a month (or two), other medical bills can drop to 0 pretty soon (which may more than make up for it depending on what you need).

  5. Ugh. The same thing happened to me. I ended up switching to Apriso, which I think actually works better than the Lialda. The initial strategy I ended up taking was calling my insurance company (I couldn’t interpret the stuff online) and asking about the cheapest oral mesalamine option they covered. I ended up being able to buy a three months supply mail order with the Apriso discount card until my new insurance kicked in. Hang in there!

  6. Funny, I was diagnosed in March of this year as well. AND put on Lialda and Canasa to start, then prednisone shortly after as I got REALLY sick after I was diagnosed. For the first 6 months I got my Lialda for free through Shire Cares ( I was unemployed when diagnosed, but they also have subsidy programs and will do their very best to work with you and help you out. Also my GI dr gives me lots of samples now as I have a brand name deductible on my insurance until I can get my insurance changed! Good luck!

  7. You need to look into Shire’s medication assistance program for Lialda. I am getting my Lialda for free. When I was first diagnosed with UC, I was given a prescription for Asacol, and it was going to be $750 a month.

  8. I had the exact same situation too. I was in a study for Humira for about 5 years. So, the medicine was free. I had no idea how much it cost until the FDA approved Humira for UC and the study obviously ended. My GI put me in contact with an online pharmacy (Curascripts I think) because he said they were always great to work with…for him maybe. They initially told me it’d be about $75/month. Turns out, it was $75 for the first month and then $1,500 for each month after that until I hit my $6,000 deductible. Not gonna happen.

    I haven’t spoken to my GI since he told me I was too concerned about money. Ridiculous.

    So, that inspired me to go gluten and dairy free. Symptoms are improving. I’m not as gung ho as some here and just couldn’t ‘stomach’ the full SCD. That said, I’m unmedicated, but at least I’m not in collections.

  9. Hi Jodi

    All your doc for sulphasalazine prescription. Similar to 5asa drugs but older and cheaper. It it’s difficult for somepeople to tolerate though

  10. I have used Lailda’s patient assistance program before, which was fantastic. My doctor and his Lialda rep have also been very generous in giving me many many samples. Hope this helps.

  11. Google Lialda Pharmacy Savings card. I gave the coupon to my pharmacy and it saved me $100.00. You can print off the coupon and then they will send you a card in the mail that you can use each month. This is my second month using it and it worked both times. Hope this helps.

  12. Thank you so much to all who replied to my post. You have been a big help. Now I can go to my GI doc knowing there are other options and what they are. :-)

    1. Jodi,
      I was diagnosed with lupus and R.A. and was put on Humira before I knew that I had U.C. I got the discount card on it and it only cost me $5.00 with my insurance. Now the Humira isn’t working on my R.A. so my arthritis doctor put me on another kind of medicine that don’t work on U.C.. So I just went and seen my GI doc and he gave me a list of medications to check with my insurance to see which one is the cheepest. With my insurance a lot of them are going to cost me $40 through a store pharmacy and $33 through my insurance mail-order pharmacy. I think it just depends on what kind of insurance you have too for the cost of these medications. Good luck and praying God heals all of us from this.

  13. Hi Jodi!

    I was googling around to see if I could find an actual retail price for Lialda (I have UC also for 11 years now)….I hope since your post you’ve figured it all out! If not maybe you can try to supplement your work insurance with the new affordable care act coverage….I had been off the meds for 2 whole years and just restarted yesterday! And I believe at the CVS i went to the montly cost was over $1,000…I take 4 pills/per day…Asacol was cheaper but that stopped working for me and is pricey also just not as pricey as the Lialda, since it’s just a much lower dosage than the lialda.

    1. Hi, I just started Lialda yesterday (9-8-2016) and after my ins, at CVS it still ran apox $925! So there hasn’t been a price drop here in S. Ca, even out in the desert where I am! So I’m looking for natural alternatives. I’m not going to keep up with these prices, even with my ins! Have you found any cheaper ways to deal with this other than diet?

  14. Hi Jodi –

    This is way late, but I went through the same problem: going to the pharm to pick up my Lialda and the pharmacist’s eyes bugged out as they told me my total would be $1,014.89. HA! yeah right. The discount program from Lialda is a joke, 10% I think it was? I couldn’t afford those prices either with my garbage insurance plan (High Deductible w/ HSA). In the end I had to switch to my wife’s insurance which jacked our monthly health insurance costs up about $65/month but the savings are huge. I wish I could help I feel your pain!

  15. I was diagnosed with UC almost 4 years back and have been prescribed Lialda. My insurance was really good at that time and all I had to pay was $40 every time I had to fill it. Last year, I changed jobs and now on HSA which has a $3000 deductible. So researched a bit and found that, a drug made in India has exactly the same active ingredient as Lialda. Its called Mesacol OD and have been using it ever since. My GI has approved it as well.

    I am originally from India which prompted to look there. I know that there are risks using drugs not made in the US but something that costs $1000 for a refill is just too crazy. I would have probably been on the same drug if I was in India. So for me, its worth taking that risk.

    Do it at your own risk, though. Ask your GI. There should be online pharmacies that sell this.

  16. Buy it from Canada… $300 bucks a month instead of $900. Insurance companies won’t contribute anything to that type of purchase because they need to maintain their oligopoly and that’s very difficult without federally regulated competition.

  17. I switched from Lialda to Apriso based on the cost. Over $200/month. Apriso was great for the first purchase (still expensive) and then shot up to over $200 just like the Lialda. I am on Medicare and the cost of these drugs as well as the Mesalamine enemas (over $250) has thrown me into the donut hole. Nice!
    The Dr. I saw at Stanford told me she never prescribes any of these medications because she thinks they are too weak and suggested I just stop taking them…which I did. My symptoms haven’t changed whether I was on these meds or not. Still got flares. I wasn’t sure what the heck these meds were suppose to be doing. I am not saying to do this w/o talking to your Dr., but my Gastro just kept prescribing the same meds and they weren’t working. I am off of all of this stuff now. No change! Seeing my Dr. at Stanford next Tuesday and I am very interested to see what she will be prescribing to me. Keep you posted.

      1. My Dr. at Stanford has put me on a totally new medication regime. Taking Prednisone (going down in mg), as well as Sulfaziazine (going up to 8/500mg tabs/day) along with a folate tablet and 2 weeks of cortisone enemas. Flare has totally gone away and I am feeling really, really great…finally! Much more manageable as far as cost. Drinking a ton of water; no longer drink anything with caffeine. Also, have gone GF as well as modified Paleo which I am hoping will also keep my gut happy.

  18. Jodi M…..I had the same problem with Lialda and Apriso. See my two messages above. After taking the Prednisone, my flare was gone in two weeks. I was also taking Sulfasalazine and continue to do so at 6/500mg tablets/day. The Sulfa is working and a 90 day prescription was only $89.
    I hope this helps you out a bit.

  19. Lialda has a website. If you sign up for their discount prescription program, your first three months are only $10. It was such a big help for my husband.

    1. I had signed up for the Lialda saving program for several years. Last week I received a letter that the program was discontinued effective 10/15/17. Also this week work rolled out enrollment package for medical benefits for 2018 which includes a change in prescription providers. I have an appt with GI in a few weeks but have no idea what to do. New program won’t give any info on pricing until policy effective date and too close to last refill to get more before the end of the year. Asacol is not covered and Apriso causes terrible sores in my mouth to the point I can’t eat.

  20. To all you people that keep saying “It was FREE”… Its not free, nothing is free and those of us who don’t sponge off anything because we worked to hard and now “Earn to much money” end up paying for it…

    SO stop saying it was free, for you it was free but us hard working people ended up paying for it… Liberal sponges.

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