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Newsom announces $50 million contract to make California's own brand of insulin

Taryn Luna and Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Newsom said state officials are looking into producing injectable and nasally administered naloxone, and he wants it to be available over the counter.

The governor promoted the contract with Civica on the third day of his State of the State policy tour around California.

Newsom, who dislikes reading off teleprompters because of his dyslexia, ditched the typical speech outlining his agenda to lawmakers at the state Capitol in exchange for a road show with policy announcements in Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego through Sunday.

He delivered his remarks Saturday in front of a bank of fridges stocked with white boxes of insulin, at an unfussy pharmacy facility in Downey that is part of the Kaiser Permanente system.

Before he spoke, Niketa Calame-Harris, advocacy committee chair for Southern California for the American Diabetes Association, recounted her personal experiences with Type 1 diabetes.

As a young adult, “there were many times where I was scrambling, trying to muster up $100, $200 for a little vial of insulin that was literally going to keep me alive,” Calame-Harris said.


“I once went without insulin for just five hours — and I was in the ICU for two weeks.”

The contract marks a major step forward for Newsom and his quest to deliver on his promises to lower prescription drug costs, which have been slow to get off the ground.

Newsom first unveiled his proposal for California to make its own line of generic drugs in 2020 to increase competition in the generic drug market and lower prices for everyone.

The governor signed legislation that year to require the state to seek contracts to produce or distribute generic prescription drugs, including insulin.


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