California Insulin

On July 7th, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California would begin manufacturing their own low-cost insulin.  The administration hopes that the California insulin will be available as soon as early 2024.  This serves as an effort to increase accessibility to crucial medication for many patients.1  How is California planning on accomplishing this and what effects may this have on the insulin market?

California has dedicated $100 million of its $308 billion budget for the project.  The plan is to use $50 million now to obtain insulin from a currently undetermined manufacturing partner so that it can hit the market as soon as possible.  The remaining $50 million will be used to build an insulin manufacturing facility in California.  Distribution details have yet to be finalized, but the insulin would be available to patients in any state.

How can California do this for $50 million?  Similar to CivicaRx, California intends to partner with established industry participants.2  CivicaRx previously announced a plan to produce biosimilar insulin products at low cash costs to patients.3  This is possible by partnering with a manufacturer that has already developed the technology to make biosimilar insulin products.  CivicaRx has announced a partnership, but California has not yet formed a partnership with a manufacturer.  Doing so would shorten the timeline to develop a biosimilar.

The type of insulin that California hopes to produce is still unclear. Currently, three major pharmaceutical companies, Sanofi, Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk produce the vast majority of insulins.4 Assuming competitive pricing, production of biosimilars to their major products, Lantus, NovoLog, and Humalog could erode the sales of these pharmaceutical firms. These companies already offer patient assistance programs, such as Eli Lilly’s Insulin Value Program, which launched in 2020. Their program initially began as an opportunity to help patients save money on insulin during the pandemic but has since expanded to allow anyone with or without commercial insurance to access their insulins for $35 per month.5

California plans to compete with existing and future insulin producers in the coming years.  There are many questions around the timeline, budget, manufacturing capabilities, and target products.  What are California’s chances of success to produce and compete with a lower cost insulin in the U.S. market?  After CivicaRx and California, who will be next to announce intentions to compete for insulin? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Posted: September 2022


  1. California to make its own low-cost insulin, Gov. Newsom says – CNN
  2. California Wants to Make Cheap Insulin. Here’s How It Could Work | WIRED
  3. CivicaRx Announces Plans for Generic Insulin | Pharmacy Healthcare Solutions, LLC. (
  4. California’s low-cost insulin plans receive $100m manufacturing boost – Pharmaceutical Technology (
  5. Lilly commits Insulin Value Program, featuring $35 copay card, to suite of affordability solutions for people with diabetes | Eli Lilly and Company


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