California To Combat Increasing Medication Prices By Producing Own Insulin

By Julia Ordaz

In early July, California Governor, Gavin Newsom, announced plans to manufacture low-cost insulin in California. Shortly after, a bill was passed that allocated $100 million of the state budget to go towards both developing the insulin, and maintaining production facilities and jobs. 

This decision comes as healthcare grows increasingly privatized, causing prices to skyrocket as companies hold monopolies over products. According to the nonprofit drug pricing research firm 46brooklyn, list prices are raised by about 5% each year. 

Without health insurance, life saving drugs are becoming unaffordable. Insulin is one of the more well known examples of this. Humalog, the Eli Lilly and Company’s second best-selling product can cost upwards of $360 per vial of fast-acting insulin, and needs to be purchased monthly. Buying this product out of pocket is well over $4,000 per year. 

Inaccessibility contributes to risks taken by consumers. Risks that could damage their health even further. 

CalMatters, a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to explaining California politics and policies explains, “The excessive cost of insulin drives racial, ethnic and economic disparities deeper and feeds into a devastating cycle of skipped insulin doses, poor glucose control, worse diabetes-related disability, the inability to work and participate in normal activities, loss of income and life chances, and a worsened ability to afford other life expenses.”

With the manufacturing already in development, Newsom hopes to make this life-saving drug more affordable and available for all people with diabetes, and create thousands of jobs to boost the Californian economy.

About 1 in 3 Americans are at risk of developing diabetes, and 1 in 10 people actually have the chronic illness. The World Health Organization places diabetes as the 9th leading cause of death worldwide. Newsom has been vocal about his opposition to the increasing prescription prices, saying, “Nothing epitomizes market failures more than the cost of insulin.” 

The price of the new Californian-made insulin has not been made public, but Newsom has revealed that it will be “close to [the production] cost.” 

Newsom, and most people living with the life altering illness, hope that the California-based insulin will make this life-saving drug more accessible.

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