California Will Start Making Its Own Insulin

Governor says costs will significantly drop, plus jobs will be created
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2022 10:59 AM CDT
California 'Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands' on Insulin
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is seen during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., on June 24, 2022.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

For diabetics in California, economic relief may soon be on the way. On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a groundbreaking initiative that will allow the state to manufacture its own insulin, reports KION-TV. Half of the earmarked $100 million will go toward developing affordable insulin products, and the other $50 million will be used to build an insulin-manufacturing facility in the state. CBS News notes Newsom didn't offer a timeline or a specific cost for the insulin product, though he did indicate it would be "at a cheaper price, close to at-cost, and ... available to all."

"Nothing epitomizes market failures more than the cost of insulin," Newsom said in a video posted online. "Many Americans experience out-of-pocket costs anywhere from $300 to $500 per month for this lifesaving drug." Newsom added that the new plant would create well-compensated jobs and strengthen the insulin supply chain. The plan would position California as the first state to make its own drugs, per HuffPost, though the outlet notes that the state isn't the first to try to substantially bring down costs: In 2021, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis greenlit a bill that keeps insulin prices to $100 a month for residents with a prescription.

In April, CBS reported on how the three biggest makers of synthetic insulin— Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk—have significantly boosted prices for their product over the past 20 years or so. Eli Lilly's analog (synthetic) insulin, for example, sold for $275 per vial in 2018—a 680% increase from when it was introduced in 1996, according to Human Rights Watch. This cost spike has led some patients to ration their insulin intake, which has led to further sickness and even death in certain cases. Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk say they've implemented programs in recent years to try to tamp down the price for some. At any rate, the Golden State hopes its big move will allow it to escape Big Pharma's grasp on this front. "California is now taking matters into our own hands," Newsom said. (More insulin stories.)

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