California will make its own insulin at high drug prices, says Gavin Newsom

California will begin making its own affordable insulin as part of an effort to combat high drug prices for a lifesaving drug made inaccessible to some Americans with diabetes, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced Thursday.

Newsom said in a video posted on Twitter that $100 million from the state budget he recently signed for 2022-2023 would be allocated to California to “contract and make [its] to have insulin at a cheaper price, almost at cost, and to make it accessible to everyone. Half of the $100 million would go towards developing “low-cost” insulin, Newsom said. The remaining $50 million would go to a state facility to manufacture insulin that would “provide new, high-paying jobs and a stronger supply chain for the drug.”

“California is going to make its own insulin,” Newsom said in the video. “Nothing illustrates market failures better than the cost of insulin. Many Americans face out-of-pocket expenses ranging from $300 to $500 a month for this life-saving drug. California is now taking matters into its own hands.

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

The California announcement comes as top congressional senators recently unveiled a bipartisan bill to reduce the high cost of insulin, which has been decried for years by advocates, doctors and President Biden. . The bill of the senses. Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) last month would impose a $35 monthly cap on the cost of insulin for patients with private insurance as well as those enrolled in Medicare, although it wouldn’t offer the same protections to the uninsured. The bill also aims to make insulin more accessible by cracking down on previous licensing requirements that can require patients to jump hurdles to get insurers to help pay for the drugs.

Senators unveil bipartisan plan to cut insulin prices

Despite Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s (DN.Y.) pledge to bring the insulin pricing bill to a vote, the legislation faces a rocky climb through the House , as some Republicans have already lambasted the idea of ​​a $35 cap. as a price control.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes, which is about 11% of the US population. Even though more than 7 million Americans with diabetes depend on insulin every day, some Americans are struggling to keep up with soaring costs for the drug, according to Yale researchers.

Since diabetics typically use two or three vials of insulin per month, costs can skyrocket to over $6,000 per year for those without insurance, with inadequate coverage, or with high deductibles. Some of the drug’s list prices can range from $125 to over $500. Humalog, a brand name insulin drug that cost around $21 per bottle when Eli Lilly introduced it in 1996, was listed late last year at around $275 in the United States.

A 2019 study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that the drug’s high costs caused about 1 in 4 people with diabetes to skip doses or ration the amount they take. Black, Latino and Native American patients are disproportionately affected by high costs due to not having insurance or the level of insurance to cover the costs, research shows.

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

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed legislation in 2019 to cap insulin co-payments at $100 per month for patients with private insurance. In response to this year’s high costs, Civica Rx, the nonprofit company of a consortium of major US hospitals, said in March that it planned to manufacture and sell generic versions of insulin at a low price. no more than $30 per vial and $55 for five injection pens. cartridges. Civica Rx said it plans to start selling insulin in 2024, once it completes construction of a 140,000 square foot pharmaceutical plant in Petersburg, Va. – and if it obtains a license from the Food and Drug Administration.

A group of hospitals has a plan to circumvent Congress’s refusal to lower the cost of insulin

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

California has the highest number of new diabetes cases of any state, according to the governor’s office. Ethnic minorities, the elderly, men and the poor are most affected by diabetes in California, according to the state.

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

“In California, we know people shouldn’t go into debt to get lifesaving medicine,” Newsom said in the video.




Washington

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