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

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


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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced Thursday that California will begin producing its own affordable insulin as part of an effort to combat high prices for the life-saving drug for some Americans with diabetes is no longer available.

Newsom said in a video posted on Twitter that $100 million of his recently signed 2022-2023 state budget will be allocated to California to “sign up and manufacture our own at a cheaper, near-cost rate. Insulin, and make it available to everyone.” Newsom said half of the $100 million will be used to develop “low-cost” insulin. Another $50 million will go to an insulin-producing facility in the state that will “provide new high-paying jobs and a stronger drug supply chain.”

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

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

The California announcement comes as top senators in Congress recently unveiled a bipartisan bill aimed at curbing the high cost of insulin that has been condemned for years by advocates, doctors and President Biden. Last month’s bill from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) would cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for privately insured patients as well as those enrolled in Medicare, although it would not limit the cost of The uninsured offer the same protection. The bill also seeks to make insulin more accessible by cracking down on previous authorization requirements that could force patients to jump over hurdles for insurers to help pay for the drug.

Senators launch bipartisan plan to curb insulin prices

Although Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DY) pledged to put the insulin pricing bill to a vote, the bill struggled to pass the House because some Republicans had previously criticized the $35 cap as a price control.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million Americans, or about 11 percent of the U.S. population, have diabetes. While more than 7 million Americans with diabetes rely on insulin every day, some Americans have struggled to keep up with the drug’s soaring costs, according to researchers at Yale University.

Since diabetics typically use two to three vials of insulin a month, the annual cost can exceed $6,000 for someone who is uninsured, underinsured, or has a high deductible. Some list prices for the drug range from $125 to more than $500. Humalog, a branded insulin drug that sold for about $21 a vial when Eli Lilly launched in 1996, went on sale in the U.S. late last year for about $275.

A 2019 study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that the drug’s high cost causes an estimated 1 in 4 people with diabetes to skip doses or dose them. Black, Latino and Native American patients are less likely to have insurance or the level of insurance to pay the price, and they are disproportionately affected by 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 to deal with costs.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed legislation in 2019 to cap insulin copays to $100 a month for those patients with private insurance. In response to this year’s high costs, Civica Rx, a nonprofit of a major U.S. hospital consortium, said in March that it plans to make and sell generic insulin at no more than $30 a bottle and $55 a pen. ink cartridges. Civica Rx said it expects to start selling insulin in 2024 once construction of its 140,000-square-foot pharmaceutical plant in Petersburg, Va. is completed, and it receives clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A group of hospitals plans to address Congress’ refusal to lower insulin costs

Newsom signed the $308 billion state budget on June 30. The budget includes a $17 billion relief package that provides residents with up to $1,050 in “inflation relief” checks to address concerns surrounding the nation’s highest average gasoline prices. The plan would also suspend California’s sales tax on diesel and provide additional assistance for residents who need help with rent and utility bills, according to lawmakers.

California has the most new diabetes cases of any state, according to the governor’s office. Minorities, older adults, men and the poor are most affected by diabetes in California, according to the state.

The governor said in a news conference last week that a $100 million budget for insulin has been put in place to “develop and manufacture low-cost biosimilar insulin products to improve 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.



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