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Tennessee Senate drops bill to set insulin price cap


Half of states have price limits; national bill remains pending.

insulin word in wood cubes: © SecondSide - stock.adobe.com

© SecondSide - stock.adobe.com

A bill that would cap the 30-day price of insulin will not go forward in Tennessee.

Lawmakers hoped to limit the price of insulin to $35 a month, but the bill failed for lack of second in the Tennessee State Senate’s Commerce and Labor Committee, according to the bill history posted online. It was introduced Jan. 9 and passed on first and second consideration before the committee deliberations.

The drug can cost $300 or more per month for people without insurance, according to a television news report.

“There is an insulin affordability crisis in Tennessee,” American Diabetes Association (ADA) Director of State Government Affairs Gary Dougherty said, in the report by WVLT television news of Knoxville, Tennessee. “And if you can’t afford the life-saving insulin, the consequences are dire. They could lead to death. And, people shouldn’t die because they can’t afford to live.”

The ADA currently lists 25 states and Washington, D.C., with insulin copay caps. It appeared New Mexico and Texas had the lowest at $25 per 30-day supply, while Kentucky, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Utah set the price limit at $30 per 30-day supply.

That makes Tennessee an outlier among the states, Alvin Powers, MD, director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center, said in another news report.

“The prices have gone up dramatically over the last 20 years for insulin,” Powers said in a report by WTVF of Nashville. ADA estimated more than 760,000 Tennessee residents have diabetes.

The Inflation Reduction Act of August 2022 capped the price of insulin at $35 for Medicare Part D and Part B in 2023. Medicare beneficiaries who use insulin would have saved $734 million in Medicare Part D and $27 million in Medicare Part B if those caps had been in place in 2020. Almost a year ago, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi all announced they would cut their prices, and federal lawmakers have introduced a bill that would set a national price limit. Patients have reported rationing insulin due to cost.

The Tennessee action, or lack of, came six weeks after the legislation was introduced. WTVF said the bill likely is dead for the session of that state’s legislature.

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