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Colorado takes action to cap insulin co-pays

Posted Wednesday, June 26, 2019 by Carl-Erich Kruse

Recently Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bill capping insulin co-pays at $100 per month. Colorado is the first state to tackle the ballooning cost of insulin; it may have just set the route for other states to follow.

Insulin therapy was first used nearly a century ago, and first synthesized more than sixty years ago. Yet, the price of insulin increases at a seemingly increased rate. What, outside of the healthcare industry, has seen an eight-fold price increase since 2004? A vast majority of the worldwide insulin is generated by three giant pharmaceuticals: Sanofi, Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk. Competition, it seems, has not led to lower drug prices. While everyone – manufacturers, insurance companies, regulators, the patent office - seems to be pointing fingers at each other, more and more money flows out of consumers paychecks.

Colorado is in a position to take this action because each state regulates its insurance market. The Colorado law provides that monthly insulin co-pays cannot exceed $100, regardless of how much insulin the patient uses. Anything beyond that $100 will be paid by insurance companies, according to the law.

It is evident to nearly anyone touching healthcare that the cost of care is stretching Americans to their limits. We made many of the same complaints a decade ago, but we have seen prices continue to increase at accelerated rates.

In addition to the price cap, the new law directs the Attorney General to investigate and issue a report on why manufacturers have rapidly increased the price of insulin in recent years.

Read coverage of the new law in the Denver Post here.

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