If you have a certain kind of cancer, your doctor might suggest Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) as a treatment option.

It’s a prescription drug used to treat certain kinds of blood cancers, such as leukemia, in adults and some children. It’s also used to treat a kind of skin cancer and a kind of gastrointestinal cancer in adults. For these uses, Gleevec can be taken alone or with other drugs.

Gleevec comes as a tablet you swallow. It belongs to a group of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Keep reading for details on Gleevec and cost and how to save money on prescriptions.

Note: For more details on Gleevec, see this in-depth article.

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The price you pay for Gleevec can vary. It may depend on your treatment plan, your insurance coverage (if you have it), and the pharmacy you use.

To find out how much you’ll pay for Gleevec, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

Note: If you have insurance, you may need to get prior authorization before your insurance provider will cover Gleevec. This means your insurer and your doctor will discuss the drug in regard to your treatment. Then the insurance company will determine whether it’s covered. If Gleevec requires prior authorization and you don’t receive it before you start treatment, you could pay the full cost of the drug.

Be sure to ask your insurance company whether Gleevec requires prior authorization.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about Gleevec and cost.

How does the cost of Gleevec 400 mg compare with Gleevec 100 mg?

The cost of Gleevec 400 milligrams (mg) compared with 100 mg depends on several factors.

These include:

  • whether you have insurance or are paying out of pocket
  • the pharmacy you use (if you don’t have insurance)
  • your dosage based on the condition Gleevec is being used to treat
  • the quantity you’re prescribed (such as a 30-day or 90-day supply)
  • whether you qualify for any cost savings programs

It’s likely that your cost without insurance will be higher for the 400-mg dose than for the 100-mg dose.

To find out the cost difference between Gleevec dosages, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or your insurance provider (if you have one). They can explain your cost based on your dosage and other individual factors.

What is the cost of Gleevec with insurance?

The cost per month of Gleevec if you have insurance depends on your individual plan benefits. For example, you could have a set copay or need to pay a percentage of the cost each time you get the prescription filled.

Your cost with insurance also depends on the quantity you’re prescribed (such as a 30-day or 90-day supply). And it could be less if you’re eligible for any cost savings programs through the drugmaker. (See “Can I get help paying for Gleevec?” below for more information.)

To find out the exact cost of Gleevec based on your coverage, condition, and dosage, talk with your insurance provider or pharmacist.

Does Gleevec have a copay assistance program or manufacturer coupon?

Yes. The maker of Gleevec has a copay assistance program available for those who qualify. If you have commercial insurance, you may be eligible to save on your prescription with the Novartis Oncology Universal Co-pay Program. Talk with your doctor to find out if you’re eligible. You can also visit the website or call 877-577-7756 to learn more.

Gleevec is available as the generic drug imatinib mesylate. A generic drug contains an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. A generic is considered just as safe and effective as the brand-name drug and usually costs less.

To find out how the costs of Gleevec and imatinib mesylate compare, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

If you’ve been prescribed Gleevec and you’re interested in taking imatinib mesylate instead, talk with your doctor. They may prefer that you take one version instead of the other. You’ll also need to check with your insurance provider if you have insurance coverage, as it may only cover one drug or the other.

Why is there such a cost difference between brand-name drugs and generics?

Years of research and testing are needed to ensure that brand-name drugs are safe and effective. This testing can make the drugs expensive. The drugmaker of a brand-name drug can sell the drug for up to 20 years. After that, other drugmakers can create generic versions. This competition in the market can lead to lower costs for generics. And because generics have the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs, they don’t need to be studied again. This can also lead to lower generic costs.

If you take Gleevec long term, you may be able to lower your costs in the following ways:

Look into getting a 90-day supply of your medication. You may be able to get a 90-day supply of Gleevec if approved by your insurance company. This could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost of Gleevec. If you’re interested in getting a 90-day supply of this drug, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

Use a mail-order pharmacy to get your medication. Using a mail-order pharmacy might help lower your cost for Gleevec. Plus, you could get your medication without leaving home. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order drugs. You may also be able to get a 90-day supply of the drug through 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 help covering the cost of Gleevec or understanding your insurance, check out these resources:

On these sites, you can find insurance information, details on drug assistance programs, and links to savings cards and other services. If you have other questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you still have questions about the cost of Gleevec, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to give you a better idea of what you’ll pay for this drug. But if you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to learn the actual cost you’ll pay for Gleevec.

Examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor or insurance provider include:

  • Does my cost for Gleevec depend on my condition?
  • If I don’t have insurance, can I still qualify for the drugmaker’s savings program?
  • Are there other lower cost options that could treat my condition?

To learn more about Gleevec, see these articles:

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Disclaimer: Healthline 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.