West Health Applauds California’s Commitment to Partner with Civica Rx for Insulin at Low, Transparent Price for All
SAN DIEGO, March 20, 2023—California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday announced the state will partner with the nonprofit drug company Civica Rx to produce low-cost insulin—a move that will benefit people with diabetes who’ve been forced to choose between paying for life-sustaining medicines or affording other necessities, said Shelley Lyford, CEO of West Health and chair of the Gary and Mary West Foundation, a founding philanthropic member of Civica Rx.
The decision will especially help the uninsured or underinsured, who tend to pay the most out of pocket for prescription drugs, Lyford said. The state will make the insulin available at $30 per vial through its CalRx initiative, saving cash-paying patients between $2,000 and $4,000 annually.
“California made history today by partnering with Civica Rx, the nation’s first nonprofit generic pharmaceutical company, to produce affordable insulin for residents in need,” said Lyford, who also serves as vice chair of the Civica Rx board of directors. “This is a shining example of the power of public-private partnerships to address healthcare market failures, including a lack of competition that results in high drug prices and fewer treatment choices.”
Civica Rx was created in 2018 by a collective of seven major healthcare systems and three philanthropic organizations (including the Gary and Mary West Foundation) who saw the need to reduce the cost of critical generic medicines and create more predictable supplies, ensuring patients take priority over profits.
As many as a quarter of insulin users skip doses or take less than prescribed amounts due to high costs, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The drug has become inaccessible to many, and disproportionately impacts people with diabetes who are Native American, Hispanic or Black, since they are more likely to be uninsured and underinsured.
“Lifesaving drugs such as insulin must be available to all in need, no matter their age, ZIP code or bank balance,” Lyford says. “By working with Civica Rx to manufacture its own supply of low-cost insulin, the State of California will not only ensure the drug is accessible to all patients but will keep the profit-driven drug market in check. Facing public pressure, two major pharmaceutical companies recently announced insulin price cuts—and while we applaud their actions, there’s no guarantee those prices won’t rise in the future. Continued competition from low-cost insulin providers such as Civica Rx is a force that will keep this critical medicine affordable for the long term.”
West Health is committed to developing and supporting innovative policies and solutions to combat the high cost of care for seniors and patients of all ages, with a wide portfolio of programs that address key challenges within the healthcare market.
About West Health
Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation and Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. West Health is dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life, and independence. Learn more at westhealth.org and follow @westhealth.