HEALTH

State program aims to keep driving down price of insulin for all Utahns

Jan 4, 2024, 7:00 PM

utah woman's insulin kit...

Stephanie Arceneaux prepares her short-acting insulin shot at the dining room table in her home in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. (Colter Peterson/Deseret News)

(Colter Peterson/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A life-saving medication, insulin, is becoming less expensive for Americans with diabetes. Utahns are no exception thanks to a state program that lowers the price of the drug.

More Americans can now get insulin for $35.

  • According to the American Diabetes Association, about 8.4 million Americans use insulin, which was discovered in 1921.
  • From 2017 to 2022, the inflation-adjusted cost of insulin increased 24%, according to the American Diabetes Association.

State program lowers insulin costs

Rep. Norman Thurston joined Dave and Dujanovic to discuss insulin becoming more accessible to more Utah diabetics at much lower prices. He said the typical retail price for a vial is $350.

“Recognize that most people need three or four vials a month,” he added.

Thurston said no diabetic in Utah should be paying that much because the state has a bulk-purchasing program, bringing the price per vial down to $90.

“But that even still stretches a lot of people’s budget,” he said, adding that $35 per vial would better help many diabetics in Utah.

Buying insulin in bulk

The good news, he said, the program has recently expanded to allow the purchase of discounted insulin to any state resident.

Under the bulk-purchasing program, he said, the pharmacy benefit manager works on behalf of the state to negotiate lower prescription drug prices with health insurance companies and drugmakers.

“The cost of producing insulin is about $3 a vial — roughly $2.50 to $3.50, somewhere in there — so there’s plenty of room to negotiate down from $350 to something that’s more reasonable,” Thurston said.

The bulk-purchasing program has worked well, he said, and has expanded into EpiPens, which for a package of two auto-injectors can cost between $650 to $750 without insurance.

“We’re looking at maybe expanding it to others [medications] where people are paying a lot of money out of pocket — so they can at least get the same bulk discounts that the state gets when we buy it for our employees,” Thurston said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

Related: Last chance to comment on proposed upgrades to US 89/I-84 interchange

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Health

A nurse works in the laboratory room in El Nuevo San Juan Health Center at the Bronx borough in New...

Tammy Kikuchi

Skeptics have doubts about universal health care model for Utah

One of the biggest concerns is affordability, according to a recent presentation at the Kem C. Gardener Policy Institute.

1 day ago

FILE: Vietnam War veterans gather for a photograph following a ceremony to recognize and honor Viet...

Eric Cabrera

Veterans can soon sign up for the largest-ever expansion of VA health benefits

On March 5, vets who served in a combat zone, beginning with the Vietnam war, can directly enroll in VA healthcare.

2 days ago

Liver and kidney transplant patient Luis Campos says he's grateful he had a Spanish-speaking team....

Eric Cabrera

Murray kidney clinic helping the Latino community

MURRAY, Utah — Intermountain Health has taken steps to address healthcare in Latino communities by opening Utah’s first fully Spanish-speaking Kidney Transplant Clinic. The Intermountain Clinica Hispana de Riñon (Hispanic Kidney Clinic), in Murray, aims to provide a space for members of the Latino community navigating the complex kidney transplant process. The clinic has bilingual professionals, […]

3 days ago

utah department of health shown, the department is dealing with a medicaid related outage...

Heather Kelly

Medicaid members in Utah affected by nationwide outage

Utah Medicaid asked local pharmacies to provide a free 30-day supply to high-risk patients affected by the outage.

3 days ago

Marijuana grows at Tryke Companies Utah's medical cannabis cultivation facility in Tooele...

Michael Camit

Ironing out Utah’s Medical Cannabis Program

Medical marijuana is one of Utah's most regulated substances, but lawmakers are still trying to iron out the wrinkles in the program.

7 days ago

North American hospitals are seeing a major increase -- 416% over the last two decades -- in teen m...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Decades-long study shows increase in eating disorders among young males

The study showed hospitalizations for young males with eating disorders were up 139%, and even higher in young teens.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

overhead view of a few aisles in a department store...

Big Deal Outlet

There is a Big Deal coming to Midvale: Local discount chain opens 8th store

If you love the thrill of finding good deals, check out the grand opening of Big Deal Outlet in Midvale from February 29 - March 2.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

State program aims to keep driving down price of insulin for all Utahns