California Governor Gavin Newsom is following through on promises to attack
the high cost of drugs. The press
Governor Gavin Newsom, as part of his tour of the State of California, announced that CalRx has
secured a contract with a manufacturer (CIVICA), to make $30 insulin available
to all who need it. The Governor also announced today that California will seek
to manufacture its own Naloxone.
Today’s announcement makes good on Governor Newsom’s promise
on his first day in office, to bring down the price of prescription drugs for
Californians and increase accountability and transparency in health care.
Californians can learn more about CalRX on the newly launched website.
WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “People should not be
forced to go into debt to get life saving prescriptions. Through CalRx,
Californians will have access to some of the most inexpensive insulin
available, helping them save thousands each year. But we’re not stopping there
– California will seek to make our own Naloxone as part of our plan to fight
the fentanyl crisis.”
WHY THIS MATTERS: Today’s announcement will bring
down the price of insulin by about 90%, saving cash-paying patients between
$2,000 and $4,000 annually. With CalRx, and unlike private
companies, we’re getting at the underlying cost – the price is the price,
and CalRx will prevent the egregious cost-shifting that happens in traditional
pharmaceutical price games. It’ll cost us $30 to manufacture and distribute,
and that’s how much the consumer can buy it for. You don’t need a voucher or
coupon to access this price, and it’s available to everybody regardless of
insurance plan. This is a crucial step in not just cutting the cost for the
consumer, but cutting costs across the board in order to bring cheaper
prescription drugs to all Californians.
“To address the affordability crisis in California, we have
to address the high cost of prescription drugs,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly,
Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. “The
CalRx Biosimilar Insulin Initiative will benefit Californians who are today
paying too much for a medication that we know is life saving and life
- A 10mL vial will be made available for no more than
$30 (normally $300)
- A box of 5 pre-filled 3mL pens will be made available
for no more than $55 (normally more than $500)
- No new prescription will be needed. Californians will
be able to ask for the CalRx generic at their local pharmacy or via mail
order pharmacies. Pharmacies must agree to order/stock the product.
- CalRx plans to make biosimilar insulins available
for: Glargine, Aspart, and Lispro (expected to be interchangeable with
Lantus, Humalog, and Novolog respectively)
WHAT COMES NEXT
As part of the State’s Master Plan to Tackle the
Fentanyl Crisis, California is exploring potential next products to bring to
market, like Naloxone, to aid in the State’s effort to combat fentanyl
CIVICA is working with the California Health and
Human Services Agency to identify a California-based manufacturing facility.
The CalRX website states, in part:
CalRx represents a groundbreaking solution for addressing
drug affordability. Originally announced in January 2019 in Governor Newsom’s
first Executive Order(this is a pdf file) and later signed
into law in the California Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act of 2020 (Pan,
SB 852, Chapter 207, Statutes of 2020), CalRx empowers the State of California
to develop, produce, and distribute generic drugs and sell them at low cost.
The State will target prescription drugs where the
pharmaceutical market has failed to lower drug costs, even when a generic or
biosimilar medication is available.
The first drug manufactured will be insulin. Once approved by
the FDA, Californians can ask their doctor or pharmacist for a CalRx biosimilar
The CalRx Biosimilar Insulin Initiative will
lay the groundwork for future drug projects.
Bringing CalRx products into the drug market will create more
competition, which will help shift the industry from obscure, rebate-based
pricing towards low, transparent pricing.
- CalRx will use transparent pricing – and set as low
as possible – based on the development, production, and distribution
- CalRx will develop target drugs in collaboration with
the State’s public programs.
- CalRx will be available for doctors to prescribe and
will be available through a variety of outlets, such as a local pharmacy
or retail outlet.
- CalRx is not a coupon program. As mandated by law,
CalRx will only use federally mandated rebates or discounts, not other