HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Insulin prices are skyrocketing, and Connecticut lawmakers are looking to help patients.

Diabetics who take insulin face serious medical complications if they ration their medicine or stop altogether. That's why Connecticut is looking to be the third state to cap prices.

“We don't have time to debate over this issue, we need affordable insulin now or we will die,” said Laura Nelly.

A proposed bill could cap out-of-pocket costs for patients and make other changes to make the drug more available.

Advocates gathered at the state capitol on Thursday in support of the bill, which in response to dramatic increases in the cost of the necessary drug.

The bill seeks to limit the out-of-pocket expenses for patients -- $50 a month for viles, and $100 for supply costs.

Lawmakers also want to improve access, requiring that insurance companies cover the cost without requiring patients to meet their deductibles first.

“Nobody in Connecticut should die because they can't afford insulin,” said Democratic State Senator Matt Lesser.

Right now, Colorado and Illinois have also adopted caps.

The cap means insurance companies would either cover the rest and need to negotiate lower prices. If the bill is signed, the state can only enforce it on insurance policies it regulates. This does not include policies offered by some large employers.

Several diabetics talked about their own experiences on Thursday. Some said they still deal with medical complications after trying to ration insulin due to high prices, or they skipped on other necessary care to pay for the drug.

“You may not go to the dentist when you have to, and guess what, that results in gum disease. Or you don't go to the eye doctor, and p.s., that develops diabetic retinopathy,” said Cathy Lebreque.

The bipartisan bill would also create an emergency fund to help people on low-income poorer residents and allow patients to get insulin without a prescription in emergencies.

A spokesman for manufacturer Novo Nordisk says the company still needs to review the bill.

Eli Lilly and Company and Sanofi didn't respond to a request for comments on Thursday.

According to the Health Care Cost Institute, type one diabetics spent an average of $5,700 on insulin in 2016. That's roughly double what they paid just four years earlier.

The title of the bill indicates a tax on insulin manufacturers. However, lawmakers said they have no intention of creating a tax or fee on the drug. They are planning a February 25 public hearing.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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