Bill capping insulin insurance co-pays at $50 a month passes General Assembly

Virginia Politics

An empty bottle of Insulin lispro by French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi is photographed as an arranged illustration in London on February 21, 2019. (Photo by DANIEL SORABJI / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL SORABJI/AFP via Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia legislators have taken a major step toward making insulin more affordable in the commonwealth.

HB66, a bill from Democrat Lee Carter capping insurance co-pays for a month’s supply of insulin at $50, has passed the General Assembly and is heading to Governor Ralph Northam’s desk.

While Carter’s original bill called for a $30 co-pay, the Marine veteran and self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist says the $50 cap changed via Senate amendment will still be the lowest in the country. Recent bills passed in Illinois and Colorado have capped prices at $100.

“It’s almost impossible to overstate how big of a deal this is. It’s *HUGE*,” Carter tweeted.

As the General Assembly rushes to vote on other major legislation on legislative redistricting, transportation funding and more before the General Assembly adjourns Saturday, other legislators stopped to praise the move.

“One of the biggest things we did this session that NO ONE is talking about,” tweeted Hampton Roads Delegate Mike Mullin.

It’s a big win for diabetic Virginians who’ve seen insulin prices skyrocket, despite no real changes to the drug itself. Just a handful of major companies control the world’s $27 billion insulin market.

Nationally, insulin prices have roughly tripled in recent years, leading to diabetics rationing or going without insulin. A 27-year-old from Virginia recently died after he used a cheaper, less effective insulin because he couldn’t afford the prescription medication he needed.

Congress did launch a bipartisan investigation into the insulin market in 2019 as part of a comprehensive probe into drug pricing, but so far only Virginia, Illinois and Colorado have been able to cap prices.

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