Citing high cost of insulin, Governor Newsom says California wants to make its own

California Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday that his state is taking steps that will enable it to produce its own insulin at a lower cost, a life-saving drug used to treat diabetes.

The announcement is part of a larger goal of giving Newsom residents access to essential prescription drugs, which they can purchase at any time in the future from the state for less than they can currently through drug companies. .

“CA will explore ways to contract and manufacture its own insulin to reduce costs,” Democrat tweeted Monday afternoon. “Insulin shouldn’t drain your bank account.”

Newsom briefly talked about his efforts to reduce the cost of insulin for California residents in a virtual press conference while presenting his office’s proposed budget for the 2022 fiscal year. The budget proposal was divided into five sections, supporting the state’s efforts to combat COVID-19, the effects of climate change, homelessness and rising cost of living. The budget proposal also outlines how the state intends to continue to support local law enforcement and help remove drugs and weapons from communities throughout California.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday that his state is working on a plan to contract and manufacture its own insulin. Above, a man looks at his supplies for type 1 diabetes management, which include a tubed insulin pump, insulin vial, syringe, needle, insulin cartridge, and infusion site applicator.
Matt Harbitch / Getty Images for Tandem Diabetes Care

During his overview of the budget proposal, Newsom referred to insulin and said that his state is working on a partnership that, if successful, would allow California to contract the hormone and will allow to build. Although the governor said he could not provide more details about the partnership just yet, he said he “can’t wait to share more details” in the future.

“I’m very excited about it,” Newsom said during the press conference, adding that he and his team “means business.”

In 2016, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that nearly half of California adults either had prediabetes or were undiagnosed diabetics. Two years later, California reported more new diabetes cases than any other US state, according to state data.

In the governor’s proposed budget summary released Monday, Newsom said a vial of insulin could cost $300 or more in some cases.

According to the budget summary, establishing a partnership with an insulin manufacturer could “position the state to find drug affordability solutions as it lays the groundwork for future collaborations on other high-priority drugs,” as well as some Resolves supply chain issues and removes “barriers” that high drug prices can create for California residents needing essential drugs such as insulin.

Newsom’s efforts to reduce the cost of prescription drugs date to a “first-in-the-nation plan,” which he introduced in early 2020, which his office designated a “state-sponsored generic drug label.” known as Cal Rx. Newsom signed legislation in September 2020 that brought his state closer to creating this label by enabling the California Health and Human Services Agency to establish partnerships with drug manufacturers.

On Monday, Newsom said insulin “symbolizes failures in the pharmaceutical industry.”

“That’s why we’re targeting insulin and we’ve found a potential partner, and I look forward to pushing further information into that space,” he said.