California Partners with Civica Rx to Make More Affordable Insulin 


Editor’s Note: People who take insulin require consistently affordable and predictable sources of insulin at all times. If you or a loved one are struggling to afford or access insulin, you can find which cost-saving tools you may qualify for through our tool

On March 19, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state has entered into a 10-year, $50 million contract with the non-profit drug manufacturer Civica Rx to make more affordable insulin for Americans. 

The CalRx Biosimilar Insulin Initiative

The plan, called The CalRx Biosimilar Insulin Initiative, was made possible after the state passed Senate Bill 852 in 2020. It will be the first of its kind and something that Newsom says will save people up to 90 percent of their insulin costs, up to $4,000 annually. 

Once developed, Civica’s short-and long-acting insulins will be available to Californians and nationwide at significantly lower prices than insulins currently on the market—$30 per vial and $55 for a box of five prefilled insulin pens. Civica plans to start developing its biosimilar insulins later this year. 

Through the contract, Civica will develop three kinds of insulin—glargine, lispro and aspart. These insulins will be available for multiple-daily injection (MDI) and insulin pump users. Civica expects them to be interchangeable with some long and short-acting insulins currently on the market, including Lantus, Novolog and Humalog. 

More wins for insulin affordability

Ned McCoy, president and CEO of Civica, is excited about helping people afford their insulin more easily. McCoy stated that he is looking forward to this groundbreaking partnership with the state; he applauds California and its mission-driven commitment to lowering the cost of insulin for people with diabetes. 

The insulin industry is a difficult one to disrupt. Still, these announcements and the momentum they’re creating are starting to break the decades-long struggle Americans with diabetes have faced.

In 2022, over 1 million Americans rationed their insulin due to cost.

Recently, the three main insulin manufacturers that comprise over 90 percent of the market—Sanofi, Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk—all announced voluntary list price reductions. These announcements come on the heels of years-long community advocacy initiatives, insulin copay cap legislation among the states, and pressure from the Biden administration and members of Congress. 

CalRx partnership next steps

Civica’s new biosimilar insulins will help people with diabetes, especially those forced to choose between their insulin and living expenses, like rent and groceries. The state of California and Civica hope their partnership will grow quickly to meet the needs of all insulin-dependent Americans. 

The next phase of this new partnership includes finding an appropriate spot for an insulin manufacturing facility in California, developing a workforce and starting production. 

Governor Newsom is enthusiastic about the potential to help millions of people living with diabetes in California and beyond. 

WRITTEN BY Christine Fallabel , POSTED 03/21/23, UPDATED 05/25/23

Christine Fallabel has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2000. She's a health and science writer and has been featured in Diabetes Daily Grind, Insulin Nation, Diabetics Doing Things and is a regular contributor to Diabetes Strong, T1D Exchange and Healthline. She earned her Master of Public Health from Temple University and received her Bachelor of Arts from The University of Delaware. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her husband in the mountains of Colorado, tinkering with her DIY Loop insulin pump, drinking strong coffee and reading in front of a cozy fire.