- The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has announced a $100 million initiative by the state to produce its own insulin to combat high drug prices.
- This initiative is split into two $50 million parts; one to be used for the development of reduced-cost insulin products and the other to construct an insulin production facility in California.
- While there is no specified completion date, the objective is to produce insulin at near cost price for increased accessibility.
- California is among several states working towards reducing the high cost of insulin, which has been increasing at a faster rate than inflation.
- High costs of insulin have caused significant issues for many Americans, resulting in rationing doses or forgoing them completely due to high out-of-pocket costs.
The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, disclosed recently that the state plans to invest $100 million to produce its own insulin.
The revolutionary initiative arrives after a prolonged period of sky-high price tags for the drug, making it unaffordable for numerous individuals with diabetes who urgently need this vital medication.
“The cost of insulin is the ultimate embodiment of the inefficiencies of the market,” noted Newsom in a video released on Twitter. “Americans often face out-of-pocket costs ranging from $300 to $500 monthly for this life-preserving drug. California is now stepping up.”‘
In line with the state’s revised budget, $50 million will be channelled straight into the development of reduced-cost insulin products, while the remaining $50 million will be purposed for launching the construction of an insulin production facility situated in California.
Driving Down Insulin Costs
No time frame for the completion of the manufacturing plant or the market release of the more affordable insulin versions was provided by Newsom in the video. However, he emphasised the state’s objective to produce it “at a cheaper price, close to cost price and to make it accessible to everyone.”
California is one among numerous states keen on lowering the exorbitant price of this drug, which has escalated faster than the inflation rate. Colorado pioneered this movement in 2019, making it the premier state to cap private insurance co-payments for insulin purchases. Furthermore, a bill capping the monthly cost of insulin at $35 for insured individuals was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year.
Impact on Individuals
Lacking access to insulin, a crucial drug that assists the body in managing blood sugar and needs to be administered regularly, presents a significant problem for many Americans. Multiple reports have emerged of people having to ration their doses due to the steep costs, even forgoing them entirely at times. A tragic case was reported where a 26-year-old man passed away after entering a diabetic coma as he tried to ration the insulin dosages he could afford.
Insulin manufacturers, amongst them Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, have reportedly been increasing their insulin prices considerably over the past few decades. Comments from interviewed insulin-dependent individuals reflected on how they had to stretch out their insulin supply due to high out-of-pocket costs. Fortunately, lower-insulin cost programs are being provided by some of these companies.
For additional information on the comparative costs of insulin in the U.S. and other nations, visit the U.S. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation website.