SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday announced the selection of Utah-based generic drug manufacturer Civica to produce low-cost insulin for California, an unprecedented move that makes good on his promise to put state government in direct competition with the brand-name drug companies that dominate the market.
“People should not be forced to go into debt to get lifesaving prescriptions,” Newsom said. “Californians will have access to some of the most inexpensive insulin available, helping them save thousands of dollars each year.”
The contract, with an initial cost of $50 million that Newsom and his fellow Democratic lawmakers approved last year, calls for Civica to manufacture state-branded insulin and make the lifesaving drug available to any Californian who needs it, regardless of insurance coverage, by mail order and at local pharmacies. But insulin is just the beginning. Newsom said the state will also look to produce the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone.
Allan Coukell, Civica’s senior vice president of public policy, told KHN that the nonprofit drugmaker is also in talks with the Newsom administration to potentially produce other generic medications, but he declined to elaborate, saying the company is focused on making cheap insulin widely available first.
“We are very excited about this partnership with the state of California,” Coukell said. “We’re not looking to have 100% of the market, but we do want 100% of people to have access to fair insulin prices.”
As insulin costs for consumers have soared, Democratic lawmakers and activists have called on the industry to rein in prices. Just weeks after President Joe Biden attacked Big Pharma for jacking up insulin prices, the three drugmakers that control the insulin market — Eli Lilly and Co., Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi — announced they would slash the list prices of some products.
Newsom, who has previously accused the pharmaceutical industry of gouging Californians with “sky-high prices,” argued that the launch of the state’s generic drug label, CalRx, will add competition and apply pressure on the industry. Administration officials declined to say when California’s insulin products would be available, but experts say it could be as soon as 2025. Coukell said the state-branded medication will still require approval from the FDA, which can take roughly 10 months.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which lobbies on behalf of brand-name companies, blasted California’s move. Reid Porter, senior director of state public affairs for PhRMA, said Newsom …read more
Source:: The Mercury News