January 30, 2020
2 min read
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Illinois becomes second state to cap monthly insulin expenses at $100

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Illinois this month became the second state in the nation to cap insulin at $100 for a 30-day supply to make the drug more affordable for the state’s estimated 1.3 million adults with diabetes, according to a press release from the office of Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The new law, SB 667, hailed as an “important step forward” for lowering health care costs for working families, also requires the Illinois Department of Insurance to issue a report that includes a summary of insulin pricing practices as well as public policy recommendations to control and prevent overpricing of prescription insulin drugs, according to a press release from the American Diabetes Association. The state joins Colorado as one of only two states in the nation that caps monthly insulin costs.

“Health care is a right for all, not a privilege, and that is why I am so proud that we created an insulin price cap that successfully puts patients above profit,” Pritzker said in a statement. “As we work to address the high cost of prescription drug prices that are burdening millions all across our state, this new law is an essential step in fulfilling our promise to put state government back on the side of working families.”

In a statement, LaShawn McIver, MD, senior vice president of government affairs and advocacy for the ADA, called the legislation a “major victory” in the fight for affordable insulin for all who need it.

Insulin words 2019 
Illinois this month became the second state in the nation to cap insulin at $100 for a 30-day supply to make the drug more affordable for the state’s estimated 1.3 million adults with diabetes.
Source: Adobe Stock

“Approximately 7.4 million Americans must take insulin every day to live, and with prices nearly tripling between 2002 and 2013, people with diabetes often face financial hardships affording their insulin,” McIver said. “Far too many are faced with hard decisions to either cut back or skip doses or forgo other necessities to pay for insulin. Thank you to Gov. Pritzker, Sen. [Andy] Manar and Rep. [Will] Guzzardi for introducing and passing this critical legislation, and for your continued efforts to protect the more than 1.3 million Illinoisans living with diabetes.”

The majority of the law’s provisions go into effect in January 2021, according to the release; provisions requiring an insulin pricing report take effect immediately.

As Healio previously reported, Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado signed the first bill in the nation in May that capped insulin copays for people with private insurance at $100 per month, regardless of the number of vials needed. The new law also similarly enlisted the Colorado attorney general to investigate the rising price of insulin in the state and make recommendations to the general assembly for further action. In a statement released at the time, McIver called the Colorado legislation “monumental.”

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In an earlier interview, Alvin C. Powers, MD, director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center and director of the division of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said the Colorado law could serve as an example to other states, but could also go further.

“This law will cover all forms of insulins, not just low-cost insulins,” Powers told Healio, referring to the Colorado legislation. “It is an example of how the government may intervene in this area, and that would bring down cost. Now, that of course assumes everyone is insured. If you’re uninsured, you’re still in trouble. Those are the people we see rationing and in dire straits.” – by Regina Schaffer

Disclosures: McIver is senior vice president of government affairs and advocacy for the ADA. Powers reports no relevant financial disclosures.