California will Start Making its Own Insulin to Combat High Drug Prices

Gavin Newsom, California’s governor, announced Thursday that the state will get $100 million to produce its insulin, a reaction to the exorbitant cost of the life-saving prescription, which has rendered it unavailable to some individuals with diabetes.

As Newsom put it in a video he tweeted, “the expense of insulin typifies market failings.” “This life-saving medication comes with monthly out-of-pocket expenditures ranging from $300 to $500 for many Americans. The state of California has decided to take matters into its own hands and take control of the situation.”

The other $50 million, according to Newsom, will go toward the development of low-cost insulin products and the construction of an insulin manufacturing facility in California. He didn’t indicate when or how much the product would cost, but he did add that the state intends to create it “at a lesser price, close to at-cost, and to make it available to everybody.”

Insulin pricing is a hot-button issue for several lawmakers, including Newsom. People who have private insurance can now expect to spend no more than $35 per month for insulin, the first state to do so; this year, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would do the same.

Insulin rationing has been attempted by some due to increased costs for several years. At the time of his death, the family of a 26-year-old man said he had died from hypoglycemia after trying to cut back on insulin.

Mother: “My son is not a statistic,” she told CBS in 2019. The drug he needs to live would still be available to him if it were priced more reasonably.

In April, Human Rights Watch reported that the three largest insulin producers—Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi—have all considerably boosted the prices of their synthetic insulin over the past few decades.

An estimated 80% of insulin-dependent people interviewed by Human Rights Watch admitted to rationing their supply to save money, according to the organization’s research.

When asked about the story at the time by CBS News, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly mentioned cost-saving initiatives they had implemented for a select group of patients.

A patient assistance program offered by Novo Nordisk delivers free insulin to those with poor and moderate incomes. While reform will take time, the business said it will continue to do all it can for those in need.

There are also programs to help people face greater prices, as Eli Lilly noted, noting that the “average monthly out-of-pocket expenditure for Lilly insulin has fallen 44 percent, to $21.80, over the last five years.”

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