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Florida lawmakers propose ways to reduce the cost of insulin

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Posted at 3:50 PM, Nov 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-13 18:19:08-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- Five years ago, Meredith Rosser's son Luke was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

“Not having history. Not even knowing what diabetes was, it was a shock. It was like, what do we do? What does this mean," Rosser said.

As Luke grew — Rosser came to find out exactly what diabetes would mean. A daily struggle to manage blood sugar for the now 17-year-old and expensive monthly insulin costs. About $400 a month.

“It’s hard— I’m sorry. Where are the middle men? Who are those people? Rosser asked.

High insulin prices have become a national concern. Some pay upwards of $900 a month for prescriptions. Brands like Humalog went from $21 a vial in the 90s to about $275 today.

"Same formula. Same drug. Price gouging— that’s what’s happening," according to St. Sen. Janet Cruz (D) Tampa.

State lawmakers are pitching bills in the House and Senate to help. If approved they’d cap insurance co-pays at $100 a month regardless of the amount of insulin needed.

“People should not be dying because they cannot afford insulin," Cruz said.

The plan has critics. Opponents worry the bills would raise healthcare costs for everyone. And though it could take years to finish setting up— some suggest a new Florida law allowing medicine imports from Canada is a better way to cut insulin prices.

“My priority right now is my son," Rosser said.

Waiting years won’t work for her. For too long she says she’s been paying too much and will now be turning to lobbying to get the bills passed and her family some relief.

“The disease is not going away. Frankly that’s the stance we’ve taken— we’re not going away," Rosser said.

Though the bills were filed earlier this year— they’ve yet to get on a committee agenda. Lawmakers were feeling confident they had plenty of time to change that, given Florida is still more than a month from session.