Colorado becomes to first state to cap the price on insulin
A new bill signed into law in Colorado means that its diabetic residents will no longer see prices of insulin rise any further.
The problem is widespread across the US, as around one in four insulin users have reported they need to ration their medication to afford the rapidly increasing costs, according to a 2018 study at the Yale Diabetes Center.
However, this year Coloradans heard the news that two Democrats and a Republican sponsored a bill to limit the amount those with health insurance pay for Insulin to $100 each month. This bill was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis on Wednesday, with the change set to be implemented in January.
“Today, we will declare that the days of insulin price gouging are over in Colorado,” Polis said, according to CBS Denver. The room included various people whose lives have been impacted by Diabetes, including the bill's sponsor, State Rep. Dylan Roberts. Roberts lost his brother three years ago to Type 1 Diabetes.
“(This bill is) to honor Murphy’s memory, and of course for the 400,000 Coloradans who live with diabetes every day,” Polis said before signing the bill, before Roberts said a few words about his brother:
“My little brother, Murphy, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 10-years-old. Just looking at the price tag of those insulin vials coming in, I knew even at that age how big of a burden that could be.”
The price paid by patients with Type 1 and 2 Diabetes has doubled since 2012, according to the Healthcare Cost Institute. And over the last twenty years, the price of the drug has increased more than 700%. The vast increases in these prices lead to much public outrage, as well as congressional inquiries - but Colorado is still the only state to implement such a cap on the pricing.
This new law doesn't limit what price Insulin manufacturers charge insurance companies, while any increase in costs will now have to be paid by these insurers. Part of the reason for this vast increase is suspected to be that the medication itself is manufactured by only three companies, who completely dominate the market.
Roberts' brother was able to afford his medication under his insurance policy, but the State Rep is aware that many other families are unable to meet the cost. “I think he’d be really proud, he would be really happy," Roberts said. "It is too bad he couldn’t be here to see it, but it means a lot that the governor said his name before he signed it."
The new law will also require Attorney General Phil Weiser to launch an investigation into why exactly drug manufacturers rapidly increased the price of insulin in recent years. The Department of Law have been tasked with issuing a report of these findings by November 2020.