California wants to make insulin to fight drug prices, says Gavin Newsom

California will begin making its own affordable insulin to combat high drug prices for a life-saving drug that has been made inaccessible to some Americans living with diabetes, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced Thursday.

Newsom said in a video posted to Twitter that $100 million from the state budget he recently signed for 2022-2023 would be set aside for California to “contract and manufacture our own insulin at a cheaper rate, near cost, and make it available to all.” to deliver”. Half of the $100 million would go toward developing an “inexpensive” insulin, Newsom said. The other $50 million would go to a state facility that produces insulin, which would “create new, high-paying jobs and a stronger supply chain for the drug.”

“California will make its own insulin,” Newsom said in the video. “Nothing epitomizes market failure more than the cost of insulin. Many Americans have to pay between $300 and $500 a month out of pocket for this life-saving drug. California is now taking matters into its own hands.”

It’s unclear when the state’s insulin would be available or how much it would cost. A spokesman for the governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Friday.

The announcement from California comes as senior senators in Congress recently introduced a bipartisan bill to curb high insulin costs, which has been criticized for years by advocates, doctors and President Biden. Last month’s bill by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) would place a $35 monthly cap on insulin costs for patients with private insurance as well as those enrolled in Medicare, though If so, it would not offer the same protection for the uninsured. The bill also aims to make insulin more accessible by addressing previous approval requirements that can force patients to overcome hurdles to get insurers to pay for drugs.

Senators unveil a bipartisan plan to cut insulin prices

Despite a pledge by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) to put the insulin pricing bill to a vote, the legislation is struggling to pass in the chamber as some Republicans previously criticized the idea of ​​a $35 cap had price control.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes, accounting for about 11 percent of the US population. Though more than 7 million Americans with diabetes depend on insulin every day, some Americans are struggling to keep up with the drug’s rising cost, according to Yale researchers.

Because diabetics typically use two or three vials of insulin a month, the cost for people without insurance, insufficient coverage, or high deductibles can reach more than $6,000 a year. Some of the list prices for the drug can range from $125 to more than $500. Humalog, a branded insulin drug that cost about $21 a vial when Eli Lilly launched it in 1996, was trading at about $275 in the United States late last year.

A 2019 study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that the drug’s high cost had prompted an estimated 1 in 4 people with diabetes to skip doses or ration the amount they were taking . Research shows that Black, Hispanic, and Native American patients, who are less likely to have insurance or the level of insurance to cover rates, are disproportionately affected by the high cost.

California’s push to make its own insulin isn’t the first time a state or group has attempted to make the drug in response to costs.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed legislation in 2019 to limit insulin co-payments for privately insured patients to $100 per month. Responding to this year’s high costs, Civica Rx, the non-profit company owned by a consortium of major US hospitals, announced in March that it would make generic versions of insulin for no more than $30 per vial and $55 for five injection pens and sell cartridges. Civica Rx said it expects to start selling insulin in 2024, once construction of a 140,000-square-foot pharmaceutical plant in Petersburg, Virginia is complete — and when it receives a license from the Food and Drug Administration.

A group of hospitals have a plan to circumvent Congress’ refusal to cut insulin costs

Newsom signed the $308 billion state budget on June 30. The budget included a $17 billion stimulus package to give residents “inflation relief checks” of up to $1,050 to address concerns about the nation’s highest average gas prices. The plan would Also suspend California sales tax on diesel fuel and give additional help to residents who need help with rent and utility bills, lawmakers say.

According to the Office of the Governor, California has the highest number of new diabetes cases of any state. According to the state in California, ethnic minorities, the elderly, men and the poor are most affected by diabetes.

The governor said in a news release last week that the $100 million insulin investment budget is in place to “develop and manufacture low-cost biosimilar insulin products to increase insulin availability and affordability in California.”

“In California, we know people shouldn’t go into debt to get life-saving drugs,” Newsom said in the video. California wants to make insulin to fight drug prices, says Gavin Newsom

James Brien

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