Legislation that would cap insulin co-pays at $30 a month won broad bi-partisan support in the House Labor and Commerce Committee, which voted 16-1 to advance the measure for a vote before the full chamber.
“We know the price of insulin has been rising fast over the past few years,” said Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, who proposed the bill. “This situation has led to a number of Virginians rationing their insulin supply.”
The cost of a 20-milliliter vial of a long-acting version of the drug shot up from $175 to $1,487 over the past 15 years, even though nothing about the drug has changed, according to Stat News.
The American Diabetes Association endorsed the bill and similar laws have passed in Colorado and Illinois.
The health insurance industry opposes the proposal, saying the drug companies are the ones to blame for high prices. They argue artificially capping co-pays might benefit some customers, but overall premiums will rise because the cost of the drug will remain the same.
“Insulin is made by four manufacturers who have consistently raised the price over the last 10 years, and they’ve raised the price regardless of what’s happening in the real world,” said Doug Gray, who directs the Virginia Association of Health Plans. “The practical reality is that they’re just charging a lot because they can.”