RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — A bill that would prohibit insurance companies from charging more than a $30 co-pay for a 30-day supply of insulin passed the Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday.
The vote for Delegate Lee Carter’s HB 66 was nearly unanimous at 98-1. Delegate Matthew Fariss (59th District) voted no, and Delegate Nick Freitas (30th District) did not vote.
The bill now awaits approval by both the State Senate and Governor Ralph Northam.
It comes as insurance prices have skyrocketed in the past two decades for the more than 7.5 million diabetic Americans who rely on it, despite no change to the drug, with the average price for a 20-milliliter vial going from about $20 to more than $250, according to a House of Representatives report in March 2019. The price of a vial tripled between 2002 and 2013, and nearly doubled from 2012 to 2016.
The astronomical prices have led to some people either rationing or forgoing taking the critical medication, which can have lethal results.
Insurance companies, who’ll have to pick up the cost, argue that the drug’s limited manufacturers are to blame to artificially inflating prices. The major corporations behind the world’s $27 billion insulin market — Sanofi, Eli Lilly, and Novo Nordisk — have virtually controlled the supply since insulin was discovered 100 years ago.
At the federal level, Congress launched a bipartisan investigation into the insulin market in 2019 amid a comprehensive probe into drug pricing.