Avonex (interferon beta-1a) is a brand-name injectable solution prescribed for relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults. The cost of the drug, with and without insurance, can depend on several factors.

As with all medications, the cost of Avonex can vary. Factors that may affect the price you’ll pay include:

  • your treatment plan
  • your insurance coverage
  • the pharmacy you use
  • the cost of the visit to your healthcare professional to receive doses of Avonex (if you don’t self-inject)
  • whether Avonex has a savings program (see the “Financial and insurance assistance” section below)

To find out what the cost of Avonex will be for you, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

Avonex contains the active ingredient interferon beta-1a, 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.


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 very similar to biologic drugs, they don’t require the same costly testing.

If you take Avonex 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 Avonex. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

Using a mail-order pharmacy

Avonex 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 Avonex, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available. For example:

  • A program called Avonex Copay Program is available for Avonex. For more information and to find out whether you’re eligible for support, call 800-456-2255 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.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about drug cost and Avonex.

How does Avonex’s cost compare with that of medications such as Betaseron?

The price you’d pay for Avonex versus that of interferon beta-1b (Betaseron) depends on various factors. For instance, the drug form and how it’s given may affect its cost.

Similar to Avonex, Betaseron is an injectable drug that’s approved to treat relapsing MS. Your doctor may teach you how to self-inject either of these drugs at home. But if you don’t self-inject, you may have to consider the cost of the healthcare visit to receive your doses.

Typically, Betaseron is given every other day and Avonex is given once per week. Since you receive Betaseron more often, Betaseron could cost more than Avonex.

Other factors that may affect your prescription cost include:

  • the length of your treatment
  • whether there are payment assistance programs for your prescribed treatment (see “Financial and insurance assistance” above)
  • whether you’re paying out of pocket or have insurance

To learn more about the cost of Avonex compared with other treatments for your condition, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

Is Avonex covered by Medicare?

It may be. You can call your Medicare plan provider to learn whether your particular plan covers the cost of this drug. There are many types of Medicare plans, so your coverage and what you pay for prescriptions will be based on your particular plan’s benefits.

The total price you pay for Avonex may also depend on the cost to receive injections at your doctor’s office or clinic, if you can’t self-inject. You may also need to obtain prior authorization before your plan will cover the cost of this medication.

Your doctor may be able to provide information about your cost for Avonex if you have Medicare.

How much does Avonex cost with insurance vs. without it?

What you pay for Avonex if you have insurance compared to what you’d pay without it depends on several factors.

Factors that could affect what you pay for this drug without insurance include:

  • the quantity you’re prescribed (such as a 90-day or 30-day supply)
  • whether you apply and qualify for any available savings programs
  • the cost of the visit to your doctor to receive doses of Avonex (if you don’t self-inject)
  • your dosage and treatment plan
  • the pharmacy you use

The factors listed above may also affect your price for Avonex if you have insurance. But it will also depend on:

  • your specific plan benefits
  • any prior authorization requirements you have for drug coverage

To learn more about what you’d pay for Avonex, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider (if you have one).

Below is information you may want to consider if you have insurance and receive Avonex.

If you have insurance, your insurance company may require prior authorization before it covers Avonex. This means the company and your doctor will discuss Avonex in regard to your treatment. The insurance company will then determine whether the medication is covered.

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 Avonex requires prior authorization.

Now that you’ve learned about cost and Avonex, you may still have some questions. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist, who can provide personalized guidance about cost issues related to Avonex. But if you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to learn the actual cost you’d pay for Avonex.

Here are some other resources you may find helpful:

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.