California will make its own low-cost insulin in an effort to make the life-saving medication more accessible, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
The state budget recently signed by Newsom allocates $100 million to the plan, which he said would contract and make insulin in California at a cheaper price.
"Many Americans experience out of pocket costs anywhere from $300 to $500 per month for this life-saving drug," Newsom said in a video posted Thursday on Twitter. "California is now taking matters into our own hands."
Newsom said the funds are broken down by $50 million going toward the development of low-cost insulin products and the other $50 million will be used to build a California-based insulin manufacturing facility "that will provide new, high-paying jobs and a stronger supply chain for the drug."
"Because in California we know people should not go into debt to receive life-saving medication," Newsom said.
Dr. Suneil Koliwad, a UCSF diabetes expert, said his patients struggle to get insulin covered everyday and is looking forward to the governor's plan rolling out.
"Those people in a system like we are going to plan to create can get it," Koliwad said. "That is the difference between life and death."
The American Diabetes Association said more than 3 million adults are living with diabetes in California, costing an estimated $39.5 billion in medical and complications expenses a year.
"People are going to see that health is better in the face of easier access to insulin," Koliwad said. "People are going to see it is cheaper in the end to provide people with easy access to insulin."
Some critics question if the state involvement in pharmaceuticals is the right solution. While there is no timeline on the governor's plan, Koliwad belives it could be a model for other states.
"That alone could show without ruffling too many feathers the benefits of strategic involvement of government in the maintenance and improvement in human health," Koliwad said.