Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, announced that a provision they advocated for to help increase competition in the insulin market and reduce costs for diabetes patients has been signed into law as part of the appropriations package.
The new law incorporates a component of the Lower Health Care Costs Act—which Senator Collins voted to advance at a Health Committee hearing in June—that clarifies that insulin manufacturers cannot receive new exclusivities to block competitors from coming to market as products transition from the drugs pathway to the biological pathway in March 2020. In addition, the law will help lower costs by improving and streamlining the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval process for new forms of insulin.
“Millions of Americans rely on insulin as part of their daily treatment, and virtually all of those with Type 1 diabetes rely on it for survival,” said Senator Collins. “Senator Shaheen and I work very closely together as co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus to advance policies that will improve the lives of those with diabetes, and one of our highest priorities is to combat the skyrocketing price of insulin. This provision will build on our bipartisan efforts to make this vital medication more affordable for patients.”
“Diabetes is a chronic condition and access to insulin can mean the difference between life and death for the millions of Americans living with the disease. Lowering insulin prices and increasing access to this life-saving drug has been a top priority for both Senator Collins and me, which is why I’m very relieved this provision to make progress toward that goal is now law,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ll continue to work across the aisle to build on this progress and will keep fighting for more federal investments to treat and ultimately cure this disease.”
Click HERE to read the FDA’s statement on how this new law will help patients.
Senators Collins and Shaheen have worked together to increase awareness of the threats posed by diabetes, invest in research, and improve access to treatment options. In response to the Senators’ bipartisan effort, CMS first approved the use of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) in January 2017 and allowed Medicare beneficiaries to use smartphone apps in conjunction with continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) in June 2018.
In November, the Senators introduced legislation to expand the availability of innovative diabetes technologies for seniors. In July, the Senators introduced a bill to roll back more than a decade of insulin prices hikes, and they have consistently pressed to hold insulin manufacturers, insurers, and PBMs accountable for the skyrocketing cost of life-saving insulin.
In March, Senators Collins and Shaheen introduced a bill to expand access to diabetes self-management training, and in June they led the bipartisan push in the Senate to ensure continued support for the Special Diabetes Program.
Senators Collins and Shaheen have championed greater investments in biomedical research for diabetes and strongly supported $2.1 billion—an $81.8 million increase—for the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Disorders that was signed into law in December as part of the appropriations package.