October 30, 2019 Media

Colorado Politics: DeGette introduces bill to roll back insulin prices to 2006

The Colorado fight to lower insulin prices shifted back to Washington on Tuesday when U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver introduced a bill sponsors say could cut the price for the drug up to 75%.

The Insulin Price Reduction Act would roll back the cost of the drug to 2006 prices, by allowing the country’s three insulin-makers concessions on rebates and assured coverage by insurers.

The bill asserts that insurers demand high rebates from drug companies, which artificially drives up the costs of the drug. The bipartisan bill would prevent insurers from refusing to pay for insulin if the company has agreed to lower its price.

Today, insulin costs about $300 a vial, compared with an average of $68 a vial 13 years ago, DeGette’s office said.

“The cost of insulin has skyrocketed in this country and now millions of Americans are struggling to afford the medication they need to stay alive,” DeGette said in a statement Tuesday. “We have to do something to end the industry’s use of these massive drug rebates that are driving up the cost of this life-sustaining drug for the millions of Americans who desperately need it.”

You can read the bill by clicking here.

DeGette, a veteran Democratic lawmaker, co-chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus with Republican Tom Reed of New York.

The Colorado legislature took up the issue of skyrocketing insulin prices during the legislative session last spring.

House Bill 1216 put a $100 price cap on the out-of-pocket expense for an individual’s monthly supply of insulin.

The bill also instructs the state Department of Law to investigate insulin pricing, then report those findings to the governor, the commissioner of insurance and the judiciary committees of the state House and Senate.

About 420,000 Coloradans have the illness, and 20,000 new diabetics are diagnosed each year, according to the state health department.