Florida lawmakers push for cap on insulin costs as prices skyrocket

'Price gouging— that’s what’s happening'
Posted at 5:51 PM, Nov 13, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- State lawmakers are proposing ways to reduce the costs of insulin for diabetics, a disease about 2.4 million Floridians suffer from.

High insulin prices have become a national concern. Some paying upwards of $900 a month for prescriptions. Brands like Humalog going from $21 a vial in the 90s to about $275 today.

“Same formula, same drug," said Sen. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) during a Wednesday news conference at the Capitol. "Price gouging— that’s what’s happening.”

Cruz is one of a handful of Democrats in both chambers getting behind two bills (SB 116/HB 109) that would cap copay costs at $100, regardless of the amount needed.

“People should not be dying because they cannot afford insulin,” Cruz said. "We must and we can do better for Floridians and provide them with the affordable healthcare options that they need."

It would be a big help for people like Meredith Rosser. The Orlando-area mother is paying about $400 monthly for her son’s medicine. She says it’s heartbreaking her 17-year-old is worried about affording insulin when he’s off his parent’s insurance.

“When he talks to us and says, 'What am I going to do about my future? What kind of job-- what kind of career path should I choose so that I can afford my insulin?' It makes me angry,” Rosser said.

Opponents worry the bills would raise healthcare costs for everyone. Some suggest a new Florida law allowing medicine imports from Canada is a better way to cut insulin prices-- though it could take years to finish setting up that process.

The bills have yet to be placed on a committee agenda in the House or Senate. Lawmakers were confident they had plenty of time to change that, given Florida is still more than a month from the start of the 2020 legislative session in January.