Gov. Newsom Rejects California’s Insulin Bill

( – The cost of insulin would have been capped under a proposed California bill. Under the bill, which was vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, insurance companies would have been prevented from charging consumers over $35 for a 30-day supply of the drug.

The bill would have prevented disability insurance policies as well as health plans from charging an out-of-pocket expense greater than $35, including deductibles and copays, for a 30-day supply of insulin prescription drugs.

In early 2023, Newsom stated that California would be making its own brand of insulin, CalRx, and a 10-milliliter vial would cost $30. California and Civica Rx, a nonprofit pharmaceutical company, entered into a $50 million contract to manufacture the drug. Another $50 million went toward development of the drug. In announcing the state making its own brand of insulin, Newsom stated that nobody should have to “go into debt to get life-saving medication.”

In vetoing the bill, Newsom wrote that CalRx would get “at the underlying cost” while “copay caps” simply pass the cost onto consumers “through higher premiums from health plans.”

Monthly out-of-pocket costs for those needing insulin can run anywhere from $300-$500. Insulin is needed for those who have diabetes. People who have Type 1 diabetes need to take insulin daily in order to survive as their bodies do not produce enough on their own.

The bill was crafted by Democrat California state Sen. Scott Wiener, from San Francisco. Wiener said the veto was “a major setback” that will leave those needing insulin in California stuck between choosing to buy insulin or to buy food. Wiener called it a “missed opportunity” to help those struggling with “the skyrocketing costs of medical care.”

The veto comes after the companies that make as well as those that promote the majority of the insulin in the country were sued by California Attorney General Rob Bonta in January, alleging that they had colluded to illegally increase the price of insulin. The largest insulin makers announced in March that they would reduce the cost of insulin voluntarily.

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