Naloxone is next medication California aims to manufacture
East County News Service
March 21, 2023 (Sacramento) -- Governor Gavin Newsom announced on March 18 that CalRx has secured a contract with the manufacturer CIVICA to make $30 insulin available to all who need it. The action will bring down the price of insulin by about 90%, saving cash-paying patients between $2,000 and $4,000 annually.
Right Care Alliance, a patients and providers coalition, has documented deaths of at least 14 diabetic Americans who’ve died due to rationing insulin since 2017, when prices skyrocketed.
“People should not be forced to go into debt to get life saving prescriptions,” Governor Newsom said. “Through CalRx, Californians will have access to some of the most inexpensive insulin available, helping them save thousands each year. But we’re not stopping there – California will seek to make our own Naloxone as part of our plan to fight the fentanyl crisis.”
The announcement makes good on Newsom’s promise on his first day in office, to bring down the price of prescription drugs for Californians and increase accountability and transparency in health care. Californians can learn more about CalRX on the newly launched website.
CalRx will take away the hefty profits pocketed by pharmaceutical companies.
“It’ll cost us $30 to manufacture and distribute, and that’s how much the consumer can buy it for,” Newsom stated. “You don’t need a voucher or coupon to access this price, and it’s available to everybody regardless of insurance plan. This is a crucial step in not just cutting the cost for the consumer, but cutting costs across the board in order to bring cheaper prescription drugs to all Californians.”
- A 10mL vial will be made available for no more than $30 (normally $300)
- A box of 5 pre-filled 3mL pens will be made available for no more than $55 (normally more than $500)
- No new prescription will be needed. Californians will be able to ask for the CalRx generic at their local pharmacy or via mail order pharmacies. Pharmacies must agree to order/stock the product.
- CalRx plans to make biosimilar insulins available for: Glargine, Aspart, and Lispro (expected to be interchangeable with Lantus, Humalog, and Novolog respectively)
To tackle the fentanyl crisis, California is exploring more products to bring to market including Naloxone, to aid in the state’s effort to combat fentanyl overdoses.
CIVICA is working with California Health and Human Services Agency to identify a California-based manufacturing facility.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said, “To address the affordability crisis in California, we have to address the high cost of prescription drugs. The CalRx Biosimilar Insulin Initiative will benefit Californians who are today paying too much for a medication that we know is life saving and life altering.”
Not everyone is supportive of California manufacturing its own prescription drugs to save consumers money.
Republican legislators, including State Senator Brian Jones (R-40) who represents most of East County, have opposed the action. They argue that money would be better spent to shore up the state’s hospital system which they say is in financial trouble due to years of under-funded Medi-Cal reimbursements.
“While Newsom makes a stop on his statewide tour to talk about health care, he’s missing the mark – there are families currently without access to emergency services and millions more who may be at-risk if the governor does not act quickly,” Jones said, Times of San Diego reports.