Gavin Newsom, governor of California, which has a gross product of $3 trillion and a population of nearly 40 million, has proposed that the state create it own generic drug label to lower the prices of prescription drugs sold to the public.
If the proposal goes into effect, the state will contract with generic drug companies to manufacture prescription medications on its behalf.
Newsom’s proposal, although not fully detailed, drew a range of comments from the Internet that included both praise and rebuke.
One man wrote that it was an “interesting proposition. “Please don’t use manufacturers in India and China; manufacturers there are not following FDA standards and are sending tainted, dangerous meds to the USA,” wrote another person.
Another person sneered at the idea. “You clowns can’t even manage to hand out driver licenses without screwing up. You really think the state can run a business? I can’t wait for the stories of the graft, kickbacks, and corruption that will ultimately come out of this fiasco.”
Newsom said he made this proposal because the cost of prescription medication is too high.
The soaring cost of insulin, which is used to treat diabetes, is often cited as the key reason for people’s anger about prescription drug prices. People with Type 1 diabetics don’t make insulin. Type 2 diabetics either doesn’t make insulin or don’t use it well.
Insulin was discovered in 1921 by Canadian chemists and physicians who offered it for free to the public.
Yet insulin’s price continues to climb because three drug companies control most of the market for insulin. Retail prices for long-acting insulin ranges from $340 per vial to $397 per vial.
Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi control almost the entire $22 billion insulin market. Novo’s per-vial list prices top $289, while Sanofi rounds out the bottom at $270.
About 350,000 individuals in the U.S. use insulin pumps everyday and 30,00 are Type 2 diabetics.
Diabetes is a disease that hits African Americans hard, according to the Office of Minority Health in the Department of Human and Health Services.
African American adults are 60 percent more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician.
The average price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013 in the United States, according to an American Diabetes Association study.
In other countries, diabetics pay significantly less.
California lawmakers must approve Newsom’s plan before it takes effect.
If California were its own country, it would be the world’s fifth largest.