March 05, 2020
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New Mexico becomes third state to cap monthly insulin costs

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New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday signed legislation capping monthly copayments for insulin at $25, the lowest copay cap introduced at the state level and the latest state effort to stem the rising cost of the drug, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

House Bill 292, sponsored by Rep. Micaela Cadena and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto passed the New Mexico House on a 61-2 vote and passed the Senate 40-1. The legislation caps copays and out-of-pocket expenses for insulin at $25 per prescription for a 30-day supply, and makes New Mexico the third state to enact a copay cap for insulin.

Between 2012 and 2016, the average list price of the four insulin categories — short-acting insulin, long-acting insulin, rapid-acting insulin vials and rapid-acting insulin pens — increased between 15% and 17% per year, according to data from the American Diabetes Association’s Insulin Access and Affordability Working Group, published in 2018.

Today, one-quarter of American adults with diabetes said price has affected their insulin use, according to the ADA.

“I am proud to have sponsored House Bill 292 making sure all New Mexicans can afford the medicine they need to survive and thrive,” Cadena said in a press release. “Capping insulin copays is an effort to bring much-needed relief to families facing unconscionably high drug prices.”

In a statement, Grisham said the state law will end an “unacceptable dilemma for thousands of New Mexicans with diabetes.”

Insulin words 2019 
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday signed legislation capping monthly copayments for insulin at $25, the lowest copay cap introduced at the state level and the latest state effort to stem the rising cost of the drug
Source: Adobe Stock

In a statement, LaShawn McIver, MD, MPH, senior vice president of government affairs and advocacy for the ADA, said the legislation marks another step forward in the fight for more affordable insulin.

“New Mexico is the third state to pass this type of legislation, proving that there is momentum to bring down insulin prices for those who need it,” McIver said in the release. “Legislators are hearing the cries of the approximately 7 million Americans who rely on insulin to live. We are grateful to Gov. Lujan Grisham, Sen. Ivey-Soto and Rep. Cadena for introducing and passing this critical legislation, and for your continued efforts to protect the more than 230,000 New Mexicans living with diabetes.”

House Bill 292 also requires the New Mexico 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 made available to New Mexico consumers.

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As Healio previously reported, Illinois in January 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. 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 Colorado law also enlisted the state’s attorney general to investigate the rising price of insulin in the state and make recommendations to the general assembly for further action.

In February, a Minnesota state committee advanced a bill that would provide access to insulin for residents unable to afford the medication on an emergency and ongoing basis, according to a state Senate announcement. The state’s Senate Health and Human Services Committee advanced a revised plan Feb. 13 that would create an insulin assistance program to assist Minnesotans who cannot afford the drug. The legislation would require individuals or families who meet income and insurance qualifications to pay a $75 copay for a 30-day supply. – by Regina Schaffer

Reference:

New Mexico House Bill 292. Available at: https://nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?Chamber=H&LegType=B&LegNo=292&year=20. Accessed March 5, 2020.