Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a $ 100 million plan for California to produce its own low-cost insulin, but experts are skeptical about whether it will reduce costs.


Governor of California Gavin Newsom

Governor of California Gavin Newsom will speak at a press conference on June 24, 2022.Rich Pedroncelli / AP

  • Governor Gavin Newsom said Thursday that California will invest $ 100 million to develop its own insulin.

  • The goal is to create a cheaper version of the drug, whose prices have skyrocketed over the years.

  • The American Diabetes Association has found that more than 3 million Californians have been diagnosed with diabetes.

California will soon produce its own affordable insulin in response to rising costs of life-saving medicines. Governor Gavin Newsom It was announced on Thursday.

“California is now having problems in our own hands,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The state plans to secure $ 100 million from the $ 308 billion budget of 2022-23 to develop affordable medicines and California-based manufacturing facilities.

“$ 50 million will be spent on developing low-cost insulin products, and another $ 50 million will be spent on California-based insulin manufacturing facilities to provide new high-paying jobs and a stronger drug supply chain.” Newsam said. ..

The exact number hasn’t been revealed yet, but he said the drug would be available “at a lower price and closer to cost.” Also, it is unknown when production will begin.

Los Angeles Times Report from June State health officials said they were in the process of negotiating a contract with a pharmaceutical company to develop and distribute insulin. A spokesman for the Governor’s Office told the LA Times that production could begin in the coming years.

However, some officials were skeptical about whether savings could be returned to patients.

At a legislative inquiry in May, Democratic Party lawmaker Blanca Rubio, who represents the 48th district of the state, said there was “no guarantee” that this could happen.

“Hope is not a strategy,” Rubio said at the time. “I haven’t heard of any strategy on how this will be available.”

Luke Koushmalo, senior finance and policy analyst at the nonpartisan state legislative analyst office, said the plan had “significant uncertainty.”

“This is an area that hasn’t really been tested much,” Koushmaro told Insider.

He said there were some implementation obstacles that the state had to overcome, such as getting approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

In addition, very few manufacturers have been able to reduce drug prices. Koushmaro pointed out Semglee, one generic version of insulin on the market. This is just a “slightly reduced” price. It was $ 269.38 per vial, $ 20 cheaper than its competitors. According to Axios..

Civica Rx, a non-profit organization that manufactures generic drugsStates plans to bring a generic version of insulin to market for less than $ 30 per vial. The organization said in a press release that it plans to begin selling that version of the drug in 2024 after receiving FDA approval.

When the drug is on the market, Kousmaro said the state must ensure that California’s interests are protected in the long run and drug prices are kept down.

He also added concern that the state has full discretion over how to spend $ 100 million. This may exempt many safeguards for transparency and surveillance. He signaled that the state would implement safeguards, but said it was entirely discretionary to decide what they were.

Newsom had previously set his goal for the state to produce its own insulin in January as drug prices rose and many Americans were diagnosed with diabetes.

One study conducted by researchers at Yale School of Medicine Insulin has been found to be an “extreme financial burden” for many in the United States.

Studies show that 14.1% of Americans using insulin, or about 1.2 million, spend at least 40% of their income on drugs alone after paying for food and housing. I did.

The financial sacrifice is consistent with the rise in insulin over the last few decades.

Humalog, one brand of insulin, was $ 21 per vial when it debuted in 1996. It now costs 10 times more, Kasia Lipska, an associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine and lead author of the study, told Yale News.

Insulin prices have more than doubled on average over the last decade, Lipska said, not an inflation issue.

Another study from a RAND think tank We found that the average price of fast-acting insulin is about $ 113.39 per vial. The average patient may need 2-3 vials a month.

“Nothing more symbolizes market failure than the cost of insulin,” Newsom said. “Many Americans experience out-of-pocket costs somewhere between $ 300 and $ 500 a month for this life-saving drug.”

More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, Including more than 3.2 million people in California. Medical costs for diabetics are 2.3 times higher than those without the illness stated by the association.

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