SACRAMENTO, California: The state of California and generic drug manufacturer Civica have announced a 10-year partnership to produce affordable, state-branded insulin, which is expected to be available to the public beginning in 2024.
As pressure builds on drugmakers and insurers to cut the cost of the drug, another major insulin maker, Novo Nordisk, pledged steep price cuts this week.
California's emergence as an insulin-maker could cause prices to collapse. Research has shown that prices for insulin have more than tripled in past decades, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a ceremony announcing the partnership.
"We are intent to make this about market disruption," he added, calling the partnership "a game changer" for 8 million Americans who use insulin to treat diabetes.
However, state and non-profit Civica have not yet located a California-based manufacturing facility, and regulatory approvals will be required.
A 10- milliliter container of the state-branded insulin would cost $30, but competitors could cut their prices and undercut the state product, Newsom said.
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer health care advocacy group, lauded the announcement, stressing that such efforts to develop a competing generic product could force insulin makers to cut prices.
However, Wright said, "The work to develop a generic, get FDA approval and set up manufacturing will take real time. There may even be more time in the effort to get doctors to prescribe the drug, insurers and pharmacy benefit managers to include it on their formularies and patients and the public to accept and ask for it."
The proposed program could save many patients between $2,000 and $4,000 annually, and lower costs could result in substantial savings, as the state buys insulin every year for those patients on its public health plans, according to state documents.