Newsom Vetoes Bill to Limit Cost of Insulin in California

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Newsom Vetoes Bill to Limit Cost of Insulin in California

In this file photo, insulin injections and other diabetic medical supplies are pictured in Irvine, Calif., on March 24, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

10/10/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill Oct. 7 that would have limited insurance companies from charging patients more than $35 for a 30-day supply of insulin in California, saying the costs would be passed on to patients in other ways.
Senate Bill (SB) 90, by Sen. Scott Wiener, targeted the out-of-pocket expense for diabetes patients buying insulin in the state.
In a letter explaining his veto, the governor said bringing down the cost of prescription drugs has been a long-time priority for him but California’s plan to produce its own state-branded insulin would be cheaper.
Such would cost patients $30 per 1,000-unit vial or $55 for five 300-unit vials, according to Mr. Newsom. The medicine is not expected to reach the market until next year.
“This is a fraction of the current price for most insulins, and CalRx biosimilar insulins will be available to insured and uninsured patients nationwide,” Mr. Newsom wrote in his Oct. 7 letter.
Mr. Wiener responded Saturday to the governor’s decision, calling it a “missed opportunity.”
“People are choosing between paying for insulin [and] buying food,” Mr. Wiener said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “This veto is a missed opportunity to ensure people can afford their medicine.”
In March, Mr. Newsom announced signing a 10-year partnership with generic drug maker Civica. The company was founded in 2018 by philanthropies and national health systems to reduce and prevent drug shortages and price spikes.
California has invested $50 million into development, manufacture, and distribution of the medicine.
Civica plans to produce three insulins—long-acting glargine, short-acting lispro, and short-acting manmade aspart insulin—which are expected to be interchangeable with current insulin name brands Lantus, Humalog, and Novolog.
Each type will be available in vials and prefilled pens under the CalRx label, according to the company.
The insulin will be manufactured at the company’s plant undergoing construction in Petersburg, Virginia, according to Civica. The manufacturing plant is funded mostly by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the state of Virginia.
Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

Author

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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