The cost of insulin has tripled over the past 10 years, sparking outrage and protest from diabetics who struggle to afford the medication that, in many cases, keeps them alive. According to their state legislation, Colorado’s new law is the first of its kind to combat this price gouging.
Last week, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a law that will cap insulin co-payments at $100 a month for insured patients, as of next January. This will make a huge difference for diabetics, as the cost of diabetes supplies has been known to reach $1,000 or more, often forcing patients to take drastic and dangerous measures to continue use.
The law requires insurance companies to cover the difference of the medication, regardless of the supply the patient requires. Unfortunately, it doesn’t limit the price insulin manufacturers can charge. While this effectively protects patients from price hikes, it could also cause insurers to increase premiums.
The real issue that must be addressed is a lack of market competition as the three companies that control the entire world’s supply of insulin continue to dramatically increase prices. To work toward a solution to this, the Colorado law also calls for the launch of an investigation by the state’s attorney general to audit how prescription insulin prices are set throughout the state.
The bill was sponsored by State Representative Dylan Roberts, who lost his brother three years ago to Type 1 diabetes. According to CBS Denver, Roberts hopes an investigation like this can help other states in their efforts to cap prices on co-pays and perhaps one day stop other drug manufacturers from inflating prices.