Whitmer Signs Executive Directive Aimed at Lowering Costs, Manufacturing Insulin in Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 3, 2022

Contact: press@michigan.gov

Gov. Whitmer Signs Executive Directive Aimed at Lowering Costs, Manufacturing Insulin in Michigan

Executive directive tasks departments to determine how generic, state-manufactured insulin can be delivered at lower cost to Michiganders

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive to determine how the State of Michigan can lower the cost of insulin, including by developing its own manufacturing capabilities. Michigan is home to over 912,000 Michiganders with diabetes, and far too many are forced to ration or forgo insulin. If the state can feasibly manufacture insulin, it could lower costs for families and create good-paying jobs for Michiganders. A century ago, Michigan opened a state facility to manufacture cost-effective, life-saving medicine for a variety of diseases.

“Our neighbors, family, and friends with diabetes need insulin to survive and for too long, drug companies have been jacking up prices, forcing them to make impossible choices between medication, food, rent, or other bills,” said Governor Whitmer. “Today, I signed an executive directive to explore how Michigan can deliver insulin at a lower cost to Michiganders. I am grateful to ongoing, bipartisan efforts in the Michigan Legislature and by Attorney General Nessel to reduce the price of insulin, and I will work with anyone to lower the cost of this life-saving drug. The American people pay ten times more for insulin than citizens of other comparable nations and costs have tripled over the last decade alone. I am confident that the Michigan departments I have tasked in this directive will take swift action to determine feasibility, and together, we will lower the cost of insulin, hold drug companies accountable, and save lives.”

“No Michigander should forgo life-saving medicine because they cannot afford to pay the price set by drug companies,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. “Enough is enough. That is why my department took legal action in January to enforce the Michigan Consumer Protection Act against drug companies, like Eli Lilly. While drug companies profit off of people’s health, they also benefit from a current market in which they control the pricing. That is why I filed a bypass application to take our case directly to the Michigan Supreme Court to hear arguments for why the state’s consumer protection act has been wrongly interpreted for too long. My Consumer Protection Team is ready to devote its full resources to ensure that the proper entities are on the hook for egregious drug prices and Michigan consumers are protected.”

“With so many Michiganders Struggling to manage their diabetes, access to readily available and affordable insulin is critical. All insulin users, including those with both public or private insurance plans, should have that opportunity and get the insulin they need” said Senator Curt Vanderwall. “This Executive Directive by Governor Whitmer, coupled with the Senate passing my insulin resolution last week, shows we agree that something needs to be done. I look forward to working with the Governor, state departments, and the legislature to create an initiative that can help so many of our citizens.”

“Access to insulin can make all the difference to the health of nearly one million Michiganders suffering from diabetes,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “But high prices make it difficult for many diabetics to access the insulin they need to manage their condition. Many individuals suffering from diabetes have to make life-threatening choices about forgoing or rationing insulin so they can cover their family’s other financial needs including food, shelter and utilities. Reducing the cost of insulin will make help improve the health of our state’s residents by ensuring they have access to the medications they need.”

“We applaud the Gov. Whitmer’s recent executive directive that charts Michigan on a pioneering path to lower Insulin prices in Michigan,” said Dominic Pallone, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Health Plans. “The governor’s call for state departments to be bold and innovative is refreshing and welcoming, and we thank her for her leadership on this important consumer issue.”

Insulin Production Executive Directive Background

Today’s executive directive tasks State of Michigan departments with evaluating options for the state to lower the cost of insulin, including:

  1. Development, in conjunction with a partner or partners, of a low-cost insulin product for distribution in Michigan.
  1. Production, purchase and/or distribution of low-cost insulin products.
  1. Establishment of a Michigan-based insulin manufacturing facilityincluding any potential sites for such facility.
  1. Any additional actions that the state could take that would feasibly lower insulin costs for consumers.

The executive directive can be viewed here.

insulin in Michigan

According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 37 million Americans, including 912,794 Michiganders, have diagnosed diabetes. People with diabetes, on average, have more than twice the medical expenses than those who do not. diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US and Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children.

Insulin is the most common treatment for Type 1 diabetes and can be used for Type 2 as well, depending on the patient. In the US, insulin can cost skin times more than in other similar countries and prices have tripled over the last decade. A Yale study found that 1 in 4 diabetes patients ration insulin because of the high cost.

Inflation Reduction Act’s $35 Per Month Insulin Cap

The recently signed Inflation Reduction Act will lower the cost of energy, health care, and prescription drugs for Michiganders. Specifically, the law includes a $35 a month cap on insulin for Medicare recipients. According to the most recent data, 122,000 Michiganders on Medicare used insulin, and the Inflation Reduction Act caps their insulin costs at $35 a month.

While Senate Republicans blocked an effort to cap insulin prices for individuals with private insurance at $35 a month during debate on the Inflation Reduction Act, members of the Michigan congressional delegation continue to fight for this expanded coverage. In March, the House of Representatives passed the Affordable Insulin Now Act, legislation introduced by Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) that would ensure no patient pays more than $35 a month for insulin, regardless of their insurer. Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06) joined the seven Democratic members of the delegation in advancing the legislation through the House. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters have championed the Senate version of the Affordable Insulin Now Act.

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