California Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced that his state government is going to start manufacturing its own insulin later this year.
Newsom has announced a new contract with nonprofit drugmaker Civica Rx, a move that brings the state one step closer to creating its own line of insulin to bring down the cost of the drug.
Newsom announced that CalRx has secured a contract with a manufacturer to make $30 insulin available to all who need it and he also announced that California will seek to manufacture its own Naloxone.
Once the medicines are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Newsom said at a press conference on Saturday, Civica — under the 10-year agreement with the state worth $50 million — will start making the new CalRx insulins later this year.
“People should not be forced to go into debt to get life-saving prescriptions,” said Newsom. “Through CalRx, Californians will have access to some of the most inexpensive insulin available, helping them save thousands each year. But we’re not stopping there – California will seek to make our own Naloxone as part of our plan to fight the fentanyl crisis.”
The contract covers three forms of insulin — glargine, lispro and aspart. Civica expects them to be interchangeable with popular brand-name insulins: Sanofi’s Lantus, Eli Lilly’s Humalog and Novo Nordisk’s Novolog, respectively.
The state-label insulins will cost no more than $30 per 10-milliliter vial, and no more than $55 for a box of five pre-filled pen cartridges — for both insured and uninsured patients. The medicines will be available nationwide, the governor’s office said.
If his plan is successful, Newsom will bring down the price of insulin by about 90 percent, saving cash-paying patients between $2,000 and $4,000 annually.
With CalRx, and unlike private companies, we’re getting at the underlying cost – the price is the price, and CalRx will prevent the egregious cost-shifting that happens in traditional pharmaceutical price games.
“It’ll cost us $30 to manufacture and distribute, and that’s how much the consumer can buy it for,” said Newsom. “You don’t need a voucher or coupon to access this price, and it’s available to everybody regardless of insurance plan. This is a crucial step in not just cutting the cost for the consumer, but cutting costs across the board in order to bring cheaper prescription drugs to all Californians.”
“To address the affordability crisis in California, we have to address the high cost of prescription drugs,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. “The CalRx Biosimilar Insulin Initiative will benefit Californians who are today paying too much for a medication that we know is life-saving and life-altering.”