California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the State has entered into a contract with nonprofit drugmaker Civica Rx to provide affordable insulin. California's new pricing for both vials and epi-pens can be 10x lower than what is seen today and should disrupt the market nationally. If applied widely to prescription drugs, this could end brutal price gouging that keeps necessary medications out of reach.
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.
"This is a big deal, folks," the governor said. "This is not happening anywhere else in the United States."
A 10 milliliter vial of insulin can cost as much as $300, Newsom said. Under the new contract, patients who pay out of pocket for insulin could save up to $4,000 per year. The federal government this year put a $35 monthly cap on out-of-pocket costs on insulin for certain Medicare enrollees, including senior citizens.
Advocates have pushed for years to make insulin more affordable. According to a report published last year in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, 1 in 6 Americans with diabetes who use insulin said the cost of the drug forces them to ration their supply.