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Insulin Prices Might Be Capped In Tennessee Under Bipartisan Plan

Craig1Black / via Creative Commons

The price of insulin would be capped in Tennessee under a new bi-partisan plan. The state would join just two others that have tried to restrict what pharmaceutical companies can charge.

This legislation (HB 1931/SB 1939) makes it so all patients, whether they have insurance or not, pay no more than $100 a month for insulin. The state has more than 600,000 people with diabetes, and many rely on the life-saving drug to moderate their blood sugar.

Pharmaceutical companies have been widely criticized in recent years for raising the price of insulin, a common drug that’s been around for a century. And in recent months, some have responded to the populist anger by limiting their own prices. But Tennessee lawmakers want to take their own action.


“While we want insulin companies to feel free to make a profit in Tennessee, we won’t stand for them price-gouging our citizens because they know they need this life-saving drug,” Rep. Jason Hodges, D-Clarksville, said at a small press conference Tuesday.

Hodges is a Democrat and has Republicans backing his proposal, which is modeled after one that passed in Illinois late last year. Colorado was the first state to approve legislation, but it only capped the co-pay, which Tennessee lawmakers say doesn’t go far enough.

The average cost for insulin has roughlydoubled since 2012 to $450 a month, which particularly strains those who are uninsured but also patients with high-deductible health plans.

“We’re doing our best to be as bi-partisan or nonpartisan as possible,” Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, said. “The ultimate goal of this legislation is that no Tennessean with diabetes has to choose between their insulin and their groceries.”

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