Type 2 Diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, occurs when insulin resistance develops in the body or when the body is unable to produce enough insulin. This condition occurs most commonly in people aged 40 and above, especially in those who are overweight and physically inactive.
In mild cases, lifestyle modifications may be enough to treat the condition. However, most patients with Type 2 Diabetes typically require medication. Diabetes medicines that promote insulin production, lower blood glucose, or increase the sensitivity of the cells in the body to insulin can be prescribed by treatment providers. Insulin therapy may also be recommended for those whose pancreas cannot produce sufficient insulin.
Given that long-term treatment is often necessary, how much does it cost?
Testing for Type 2 Diabetes in Singapore
To get tested for diabetes, you may talk to your doctor about your concerns and they may order for a blood test to be done. There are several different types of blood tests:
Testing your blood glucose levels
1. Random blood glucose
A blood sample is taken at random without fasting. A random blood glucose greater than 11.1 mmol/L may indicate diabetes.
2. Fasting blood glucose
After fasting overnight, a blood sample will be taken. A fasting blood sugar of 7.0 mmol/L or higher indicates diabetes. As this test is easy to perform, it is one of the most frequently used methods to diagnose diabetes.
3. Oral glucose tolerance test
You will be asked to fast overnight, and your fasting blood glucose level will be taken through a blood sample. Afterwards, you will be asked to drink a liquid containing 75g of sugar. More blood samples will be taken thereafter. If there is a fasting reading of 7.0 mmol/L or a glucose reading of > 11.1 mmol/L two hours after consuming the drink, it may indicate that you have diabetes.
Go for a health screening that screens for diabetes
Screen For Life
Singapore’s Screen For Life initiative, which encourages Singapore citizens to go for regular health screenings and follow-ups, provides access to highly subsidised diabetes tests according to your age.
|Age group / demographic||Subsidized price|
|Singaporeans aged 18 to 39 (only if at risk based on Diabetes Risk Assessment test)||$5|
|Singaporeans aged 40 and above||$5|
|CHAS (Community Health Assist Scheme) card holders||$2|
|Pioneer Generation (aged 65 and above in 2014)||Free|
Otherwise, you can opt for a diabetes test at various health screening centres, private clinics and hospitals. Prices range from $50 to $80.
Can you get diabetes medicine over the counter?
No. You cannot get diabetes medication over the counter. You must first get a prescription from your general practitioner, family doctor, or a local clinic. Afterwards, you can repurchase your medication from pharmacies, polyclinics, or hospitals.
To ensure that your treatment is effective, it is important for you to follow the doctor’s prescription rather than trying to self-medicate.
Where to get diabetes medicine in Singapore?
You have to first get a diagnosis from your general practitioner, family doctor or polyclinic. Thereafter, you may get access to diabetes medicine with your prescription at the following places:
- Retail Pharmacies in Singapore
- Clinics and Polyclinics
- Online Doctors and Medicine Deliveries
Type 2 diabetes medicine prices in Singapore
Here are some drugs used for Type 2 Diabetes treatment and management:
|Type of diabetes medication||Common brand names||What it does|
|Sul-fonyl-ureas||Tolbutamide, Glibenclamide (Daonil), Glipizide (Minidiab), Gliclazide (Diamicron)||Stimulate the pancreas to release insulin, so as to lower blood sugar levels|
|Bi-gua-nides||Metformin (Glucophage)||Helps to reduce insulin resistance in cells|
|Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors||Acarbose (Glucobay)||Helps to slow down sugar absorption in the intestine, and prevent a sudden increase in blood sugar after eating|
|GLP-1 Agonists||Dulaglutide, Semaglutide||Stimulates glucose-dependent insulin release, helps to decrease appetite, keep someone full for longer, and decrease glucagon secretion|
|SGLT2 Inhibitors||Canagliflozin, Dapagliflozin, Empagliflozin||Helps to control blood glucose levels by making the kidneys excrete excess glucose in the urine|
|DPP-4 Inhibitors||Sitagliptin, Vildagliptin||Increases the insulin release after a meal, and decreases the amount of sugar made by the liver|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Rosiglitazone Maleate, Pioglitazone||Improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin by reducing fatty acid concentrations and fat availability in the liver and muscles|
|Meg-liti-nides||Nateglinide, Repaglinide||Stimulates the pancreas to release insulin after a meal|
How much do they cost? The Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore (PSS) has compiled a list of common diabetes medicines with prices. This can be a helpful tool for you to find the most cost-efficient option.
|Drug Type||Drug Type and Common Brand Names||Dose||Price Range per Pill (SGD)|
|Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors||Acarbose||50 mg||$0.50 - $0.60|
|Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors||Acarbose||100 mg||$0.72 - $0.85|
|Sul-phonyl-ureas||Glibenclamide||5 mg||$0.06 - $0.40|
|Sul-phonyl-ureas||Gliclazide (MR Tablet)||30 mg||$0.84 - $0.90|
|Sul-phonyl-ureas||Gliclazide (MR Tablet)||60 mg||$1.60 - $1.80|
|Sul-phonyl-ureas||Gliclazide||80 mg||$0.27 - $1.05|
|Sul-phonyl-ureas||Glimepiride||1 mg||$0.70 - $0.74|
|Sul-phonyl-ureas||Glimepiride||2 mg||$1.10 - $1.20|
|Sul-phonyl-ureas||Glimepiride||3 mg||$1.60 - $1.79|
|Sul-phonyl-ureas||Glipizide||5 mg||$0.13 - $0.70|
|Sul-phonyl-ureas||Tolbutamide||500 mg||$0.10 - $0.12|
|Bi-gua-nides||Metformin (HCL Tablet)||250 mg||$0.07 - $0.20|
|Bi-gua-nides||Metformin (HCL Tablet)||500 mg||$0.07 - $0.15|
|Bi-gua-nides||Metformin (HCL Tablet)||850 mg||$0.26 - $0.32|
|Bi-gua-nides||Metformin (HCL Tablet)||1000 mg||$0.30 - $0.31|
|Bi-gua-nides||Metformin (XR Tablet)||500 mg||$0.29 - $0.31|
|Bi-gua-nides||Metformin (XR Tablet)||750 mg||$0.40 - $0.45|
|Bi-gua-nides||Metformin (XR Tablet)||1000 mg||$0.54 - $0.61|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Rosiglitazone Maleate||4 mg||$3.45 – $3.48|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Rosiglitazone Maleate||8 mg||$5.84|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Pioglitazone||15 mg||$2.80 - $4.02|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Pioglitazone||30 mg||$3.75 - $6.26|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Nateglinide||120 mg||$0.85 - $0.95|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Repaglinide||0.5 mg||$0.54 - $0.60|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Repaglinide||1 mg||$0.78 - $0.80|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Repaglinide||2 mg||$1.04 - $1.10|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Sitagliptin||25 mg||$3.65 - $3.75|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Sitagliptin||50 mg||$3.65 - $3.75|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Sitagliptin||100 mg||$3.65 - $3.70|
|Thia-zoli-dine-diones||Vildagliptin||50 mg||$1.91 - $2.00|
|GLP-1 Agonist||Semaglutide (Ozempic)||Per injection pen||$300 -$400|
|GLP-1 Agonist||Semaglutide (Rybelsus)||Per tablet||$6.75 - $11.95|
Insulin might also be required in the management of Type 2 Diabetes. There are various types of insulin brands available at varying prices.
|Common Brand Names||Brand Name and Delivery Type||Dose||Price Range (SGD)|
|Humulin 30/70||1.5 ml Cartridge||-||$7.69|
|Humulin N||1.5 ml Cartridge||100 IU/ml||$7.69|
|Humulin R||1.5 ml Cartridge||100 IU/ml||$7.69|
|Humulin 30/70||3 ml Cartridge||-||$13.72 - $14.07|
|Humulin N||3 ml Cartridge||100 IU/ml||$13.72 - $14.07|
|Humulin R||3 ml Cartridge||100 IU/ml||$13.72 - $14.07|
|Novorapid||Penfill||100 IU/ml||$16.30 - $102.75|
|Apidra||-||300 IU/3ml||$18.30 - $20.00|
|Insulatard||Penfill||100 IU/ml||$18.45 - $94.15|
|Actrapid HM||Penfill||100 IU/ml||$18.83 - $18.84|
|Mixtard 30 HM||Penfill||-||$18.83 - $18.84|
|Humalog||Penfill||100 IU/ml||$19.43 - $21.40|
|Humalog Mix 25||Pen||-||$19.43 - $21.40|
|Novorapid||Flexpen||100 IU/ml||$20.15 - $23.07|
|Humalog Mix 25||Vial||-||$20.55|
|Novomix 30||Flexpen||-||$20.60 - $24.20|
|Insulatard||Novolet||100 IU/ml||$20.98 - $104.90|
|Mixtard 30 HM||Novolet||-||$20.98 - $104.90|
|Levemir||Flexpen||14.2 mg/ml (100IU)||$34.24 - $37.20|
|Lantus Solostar||-||300 IU/ 3ml||$36.50 - $40.15|
|Lantus||Cartridge||100 IU/ml||$36.70 - $110.00|
|Humulin 30/70||Vial||-||$41.15 - $43.66|
|Humulin L||Vial||100 IU/ml||$41.14|
|Humulin N||Vial||100 IU/ml||$41.15 - $43.66|
|Humulin R||Vial||100 IU/ml||$42.00 - $80.00|
|Actrapid HM||Vial||100 IU/ml||$54.05 - $57.80|
|Insulatard||Vial||100 IU/ml||$54.05 - $57.80|
|Mixtard 30 HM||Vial||-||$54.05 - $57.80|
|Humalog||Vial||100 IU/ml||$61.40 - $67.10|
|Mixtard 50 HM||Penfill||-||$94.15|
|Lantus||rDNA Vial||100 IU/ml||$102.95 - $119.85|
Type 2 Diabetes medication can be obtained from a private clinic, polyclinic, or hospital with a consultation. However, getting to the clinic can be a difficult task for seniors who may have mobility issues. Our medical escorts, who are local caregivers, can accompany you and your loved one to medical check-ups and appointments. If you need someone to accompany your loved one while you handle administrative matters at the hospital, or to bring them for appointments when you are away at work, we are here to support you.
Furthermore, Homage provides caregiving services for your loved ones at every stage. Our trained care professionals are able to provide companionship, nursing care, night caregiving, home therapy and more, to keep your loved ones active and engaged as they age in place.
Provide the best care to your loved one today! Fill up the form below for a free consultation with our Care Advisory team.
- Bunag, R. L. N. (2021, June 23). Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms & Prevention. Homage. Retrieved October 8, 2022, from https://www.homage.sg/health/type-1-type-2-diabetes/
- Cherney, K. (2022, October 13). A Complete List of Diabetes Medications. Healthline. Retrieved 15 November, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/medications-list
- Diabetes in Singapore – Guide to Cost of Screening, Treatment & Medication. (2020, September 17). MoneySmart.Sg – Tips, Tricks and Uncommon Wisdom to Help You Get More Out of Your Money. Retrieved October 8, 2022, from https://blog.moneysmart.sg/healthcare/cost-diabetes-treatment-singapore/
- MEDICATIONS FOR TREATMENT OF DIABETES. (2018, February 6). Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. https://www.pss.org.sg/sites/default/files/2018_diabetes_compiled_price_list.pdf
- Ming, .T.M. (n.d.). Diabetes: How to Diagnose? – HealthXchange. Retrieved October 8, 2022, from https://www.healthxchange.sg/diabetes/essential-guide-diabetes/how-diagnose-diabetes
- Screen for Life – National Health Screening Programme. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2022, from https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/61/screen_for_life
- Tan, K. (2022, August 17). Diabetes Treatment in Singapore 2022: A Complete Guide (Costs and More). NOVI Health. Retrieved October 8, 2022, from https://novi-health.com/library/guide-to-diabetes-treatment-in-singapore