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Plans at national, state level could cut cost of insulin


A company co-founded by SSM Health said Thursday that it is working on creating affordable insulin.

Meanwhile, insulin's high price has prompted national and state politicians to tackle bringing the cost to consumers down.

Diabetics could see a drop in insulin prices if Civica gets approval to manufacture and distribute insulin at a lower price. The company was co-founded by SSM, which operates SSM-St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City.

Affordable insulin will help diabetics who've had to choose between life-sustaining medicines and living expenses. This particularly affects those who are uninsured or underinsured and are forced to pay very high prices for medicine

“More than 8 million Americans rely on insulin to live, but many can’t afford to take the amount they need because of the historically high and prohibitive cost of insulin. We know that to really solve for the insulin cost and access challenges so many Americans face, we need a process – from manufacturing to setting a transparent price – that ultimately lowers the cost of the drug for those living with diabetes. In that spirit, we will ensure patients know where Civica’s low-cost insulin is available,” Martin VanTrieste, president and CEO of Civica Rx, said in a news release.

Civica plans to produce three insulins including, glargine, lispro and aspart and each drug will be made available in vials and insulin pens. Civica also plans to set a price of $30 per vial and no more than $55 for a box of five pen cartridges.

President Joe Biden also wants to help lower the costs of insulin prices for diabetics. Biden's plan, highlighted this week in his State of the Union address, would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices in states that haven't expanded Medicaid. Biden's post-pandemic health plan also looks to set the cost of insulin at no more than $35 a month.

"Imagine what it's like to look at your child who needs insulin to stay healthy and have no idea how on God's name you're gonna be able to pay for it? What it does to your family, but what it does to your dignity," President Joe Biden said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the out-of-pocket cost of one vial of Humalog in 1999 was $21. In 2019 it had risen to $322. The four most popular types of insulin now cost $450 dollars a month.

In Missouri, state Sen. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City, has filed a bill to set a $30 dollar cap for Missourians with diabetes. The monthly cap would include expenses such as deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance.

"The average price is 10 times higher than in other countries,” Arthur said in a news release. “It’s time to say enough is enough."

A state report said that in 2020, about 516,000 Missouri adults had diabetes -- about 11% of the adult population. High rates of the disease were reported in Callaway, Chariton, Randolph, Audrain, Saline and Pettis counties in Mid-Missouri.

Civica hopes to start distributing insulin at a lower price in 2024.

Article Topic Follows: Missouri

Kennedy Miller


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