HealthDay News — California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state will spend $100 million to produce its own insulin. The innovative push comes after years of high prices for the drug have made it nearly impossible for many people with diabetes to afford the critical medicine.
“Nothing epitomizes market failures more than the cost of insulin,” Newsom said in a video posted on Twitter. “Many Americans experience out-of-pocket costs anywhere from $300 to $500 per month for this lifesaving drug. California is now taking matters into our own hands.”
As part of the state’s new budget, $50 million will go directly to the development of low-cost insulin products, according to Newsom, while the other $50 million will be used to start the construction of a California-based insulin manufacturing facility.
In the video, Newsom did not offer an expected completion date for the plant or when the new, cheaper versions of the drug will make it to market, but he noted that California plans to make it “at a cheaper price, close to at-cost, and to make it available to all.”
California is one of many states attempting to undercut the price of the drug, which has been growing at a rate faster than inflation. In 2019, Colorado became the first state in the nation to cap private insurance co-payments for buying insulin. And earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would cap the monthly cost of insulin at $35 for those who are insured.
In April, the international advocacy group Human Rights Watch reported that the major 3 drug companies that have a grip on the insulin market — Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi — have all significantly raised the prices of their insulin during the last few decades.
“Almost every insulin-dependent person Human Rights Watch interviewed said they had rationed analog insulin because of out-of-pocket costs, taking it in ways not recommended by their physician in order to stretch their supply,” the report noted.