Colorado Leads the Way For Insulin Affordability

HB1216 Passed. May 22, 2019. Photo courtesy of Dylan Roberts

Colorado became the first state in the nation to put a cap on insulin prices when Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 19-1216, ensuring that no Coloradoan pays more than $100 a month for their insulin.

The legislation also directs the Colorado Attorney General to investigate the rising price of insulin in Colorado and make recommendations to the general assembly for further action.

For those in Colorado struggling with skyrocketing insulin prices, this bill means that families will soon have some relief from the debilitating cost of living with type 1 diabetes.   Insulin prices increased 45% between 2014 and 2017 and, when adjusted for inflation, 540% since 2005.

The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Dylan Roberts of Eagle county, whose younger brother, Murphy lived with T1D.  Roberts told CNN, “Colorado is leading the way with this measure, but this is just a first step.  We won’t stop until all the pharmaceutical companies and drug middlemen start taking more accountability and stop gouging patients with their high costs.”

Rep. Roberts also co-sponsored House Bill 1077 (aka Kevin’s Law) which allows a pharmacist to dispense an emergency supply of a chronic maintenance drug (like but not limited to insulin) to patients without a prescription.   Effective immediately, this means that if a T1D patient in Colorado runs out of insulin or has a prescription that expires and they cannot reach their physician, the pharmacy can provide an emergency supply of insulin.

This legislation is on the heels of a recent congressional subcommittee hearing where JDRF’s Aaron Kowalski, Colorado T1D advocate Gail DeVore, and others testified about the rising cost of insulin.  During his testimony Kowalski said, “at a time when new innovations can enable people with type 1 diabetes to live longer, healthier lives than ever before, the dramatic rise in the cost of insulin is undercutting this progress. To get the best outcomes, people with diabetes need access to affordable insulin and diabetes management tools year around.”

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Rep. Dylan Roberts