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

California will start making its own affordable insulin as part of an effort to combat high drug prices for a life-saving drug that has been made inaccessible to some Americans with diabetes, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) announced Thursday.

Newsom said in a video posted at: Twitter that $100 million of the state budget he recently signed off on for 2022-2023 would be allocated to California to “contract and make our own insulin at a lower price, almost at cost, and to make it available to everyone.” Half of the $100 million would go toward developing a “cheap” insulin, Newsom said. The other $50 million would go to a plant in the state to produce insulin that would “create 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 embodies market failure more than the cost of insulin. Many Americans face out-of-pocket costs of $300 to $500 a month 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 California announcement comes as top senators in Congress recently unveiled a bipartisan bill to curb the high cost of insulin, which has been rejected for years by lawyers, doctors and President Biden. Sens’s account. Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) last month would place a $35 monthly cap on the cost of insulin for patients with private insurance and for patients enrolled in Medicare, although it wouldn’t. offer the same protection to the uninsured. The bill also aims to make insulin more accessible by addressing past authorization requirements that could force patients to jump through hurdles to get insurers to pay for drugs.

Senators unfurl two-pronged plan to curb insulin prices

Despite Senate Leader Charles E. Schumer’s (DN.Y.) pledge to put the insulin price bill to a vote, the legislation has struggled to get through the room as some Republicans have previously criticized the idea of ​​a $35 cap as a price control.

More than 37 million Americans have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accounting for about 11 percent of the U.S. population. Although more than 7 million Americans with diabetes rely on insulin every day, some Americans are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of the drug, according to Yale researchers.

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

A 2019 study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that the high cost of the drug had caused an estimated 1 in 4 people with diabetes to skip doses or ration how much they had taken. Black, Latinx and Native American patients, who are less likely to have insurance or the level of insurance to cover prices, are disproportionately affected by the high costs, research shows.

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

Jared Polis (D) of Colorado signed legislation in 2019 to limit insulin co-payments for patients with private insurance to $100 per month. In response to the high costs this year, Civica Rx, the nonprofit for a consortium of major U.S. hospitals, said in March that it planned to manufacture and sell generic versions of insulin for no more than $30 per vial and $55 for five injection pens. ink cartridges. Civica Rx said it expects to start selling insulin in 2024, once it completes construction of a 140,000-square-foot pharmaceutical plant in Petersburg, Virginia. — and if it wins licenses from the Food and Drug Administration.

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

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

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

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

“In California, we know people don’t have to go into debt to get life-saving drugs,” Newsom said in the video.