New Colorado Law Limits Cost Of Insulin For Patients

Insulin will cost less for diabetics in Colorado after the state passed a bill putting a $100 cap on co-pays for the drug that regulates blood sugar.

Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill into law Wednesday which makes his state the first in the U.S. to place a limit on insulin prices.

“Today, we will declare that the days of insulin price gouging are over in Colorado,” Polis said in his office, according to CBS4 in Denver.

The $100-per-month cap is well under the price of nearly $900-$1,000 that some individuals pay. The law comes as patients across the state have complained to lawmakers about the increasing costs of insulin.

The bill also directs state Attorney General Phil Weiser to find out why pharmaceutical manufacturers have driven the price so high. His report must be issued by the Department of Law by November 2020.

State Rep. Dylan Roberts, who sponsored the bill, joined a crowded room with other people affected by diabetes. Roberts' brother, Murphy Roberts, passed away three years ago after living with diabetes.

“My little brother, Murphy, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 10-years-old,” the state rep. said. “Just looking at the price tag of those insulin vials coming in, I knew even at that age how big of a burden that could be.”

As the governor signed the bill, he said the law was for all people in his state who live with the disease.

“(This bill is) to honor Murphy's memory, and of course for the 400,000 Coloradans who live with diabetes every day,” Polis said.

The costs of insulin have spiked more than 700 percent over recent years, and it is only manufactured by three different companies, CBS4 reported. Roberts said the price hikes have all come simultaneously between the three companies, putting a strain on the pocketbooks of those needing the drug.

Roberts said the new law would not have saved his brother's life, but that Murphy would have been proud of the moment the bill was signed into law.

“I think he'd be really proud. He would be really happy. It is too bad he couldn't be here to see it, but it means a lot that the governor said his name before he signed it,” Roberts said.

Though the new law puts a cap on how much a consumer pays per month on insulin, it doesn't limit how much insulin manufacturers can charge insurance companies for the drug. Insurance providers could pay the price difference, but the report doesn't indicate whether or not the cost differential will trickle down to those who buy health insurance.