UPDATE Oct. 10, 2023, at 2:35 p.m.- Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a proposal by a Bay Area lawmaker that would cap the cost of insulin to $35 for a 30-day supply of an insulin prescription.
Newsom said in a veto statement that Senate Bill 90 would prohibit health plans from imposing a copayment of more than $35 for a 30-day supply of an insulin prescription.
"Bringing down the costs of prescription drugs, and particularly insulin, has long been a priority of mine. People should not be forced to go into debt to get lifesaving medicines," said Newsom.
In March, Newsom announced a state partnership with Civica to create its own line of CalRx biosimilar insulin that will cost no more than $30 per 10ml vial or $55 for five 3mL cartridges. CalRx would be available to insured or uninsured patients nationwide, said Newsom.
"With CalRx, we are getting at the underlying cost, which is the true sustainable solution to high-cost pharmaceuticals," said Newsom. "With copay caps, however, the long-term costs are still passed down to consumers through higher premiums from health plans.
SACRAMENTO – A proposal by a Bay Area lawmaker that would cap the cost of insulin to $35 is heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk after being unanimously approved by state legislators.
Senate Bill 90 by State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) passed the Assembly with a 63-0 vote and the State Senate on a 39-0 vote. The measure would ban co-pays over $35 for a 30-day supply of insulin and prohibit health plans from imposing a deductible on insulin prescriptions.
"No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and purchasing a life-saving medication such as insulin," Wiener said in a statement. "By imposing a reasonable cost cap on insulin, we'll make this life-saving medication affordable for tens of thousands of people, lowering healthcare costs and improving our public health."
The measure comes as the price of insulin has risen substantially in the past decade. As a result, many people with diabetes have incurred thousands of dollars in credit card debt to pay for the medication or have rationed their insulin to save money.
SB90 follows other actions taken at the state and federal levels to lower the price of insulin.
Earlier this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state would make their own insulin, announcing a 10-year partnership with a generic drug manufacturer. The product is not expected to be on store shelves until at least next year.
At the federal level, seniors on Medicare are already seeing a $35/month cap on insulin as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. Meanwhile, Medicare is set to begin negotiating prices on 10 drugs, many of which treat diabetes.
More than 4 million Californian adults have diabetes and 231,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, according to Wiener's office. New cases disproportionately affect communities of color, the elderly, males and low-income individuals.