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Bill to cap insulin prices in Utah advances in the legislature

Representative Norm Thurston spoke at the state capitol Wednesday, November 20, about proposed legislation that would lower the overall cost for diabetics. Photo: John Wojcik

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah House committee has unanimously approved a bill that would cap insulin co-pays at $100 per prescription per month. It now heads to the full house for a vote.

Representative Norm Thurston (R-Provo) has said it’s structured to help insurance companies negotiate better prices from insulin manufacturers.

The bill would also allow insurance companies to cap insulin co-pays as low as $30 per prescription, though Thurston read a note to the committee from CVS, a company that is looking at doing away with insulin co-pays altogether.

“Our [CVS] analysis clearly shows that such a solution will not raise, and may even help lower, overall costs for payers without the perceived trade-off with deductibles and premiums,” Thurston read.

The bill would also allow pharmacists to fill prescriptions for supplies that will last more than 30 days, as well as give patients the type of insulin they need if there has been an error in the prescription.

Representative Brad Daw (R-Taylorsville) voted for the bill because he believes it will help thousands of Utahns.

“This is a very innovative and thoughtful approach, and I think it will move the needle significantly,” Daw said.

The insurance industry has been largely supportive of the legislation. However, Kelly Atkinson the director of the Utah Health Insurance Association, an organization who is neutral on the bill, still has some concerns.

“There’s nothing in this legislation that curtails the cost of insulin. It curtails the cost to the public. But as was rightly pointed out by this committee, the pharmaceutical companies control the cost of insulin,” Atkinson said.