About 8 million Americans with diabetes take insulin, a peptide hormone, to regulate their blood sugar. Those without health insurance, or who have high-deductible plans, often spend hundreds of dollars a month on this life-saving medication, and one 2019 study found that a quarter of survey respondents reported rationing insulin due to financial difficulty.
The Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by President Biden earlier this week caps insulin prices for Medicare patients. The original text included provisions that would cap insulin prices for Medicare patients and people privately insured, but the latter failed to get enough support in Congress.
However, there is hope for all people needing insulin. Last month, California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled plans for the state to manufacture affordable insulin biosimilars. The CalRx Biosimilar Insulin program plans to spend $50 million to partner with a CMO in order to make insulin products similar to those currently manufactured by Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, and Sanofi, the three companies that currently dominate the U.S. insulin market. Another $50 million will go to building an insulin production facility in California. According to the deputy communications officer for Newsom’s office, the insulin produced there would be made available to anyone in the U.S., not just California residents.