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New law capping insulin copays takes effect in Virginia

Posted at 1:55 PM, Jan 01, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. - A new law capping the price of insulin insurance copays at $50 a month takes effect Friday in Virginia.

The law passed the General Assembly session in 2020 and now takes effect on January 1.

The price of insulin has risen dramatically over the past few years, so advocates say this new law is a very helpful change. "People find themselves in a position where they can either buy their insulin or pay their rent," said Dr. David Lieb, a professor of internal medicine of Eastern Virginia Medical School who has type one diabetes.

The Virginia Department of Health says more than 600,000 people have diabetes in Virginia. People with type one need insulin to survive. People with type two may also need to take insulin. "It's become even more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic because people are out of work. People are getting evicted," said Lieb. "Insulin is getting pushed down the list."

High prices have led some to ration their insulin, which can lead to severe health consequences. "Diabetes affects every part of the body, so not having the right amount of insulin can be deadly at the greatest and at the least it can cause a lot of complications down the road," said Lieb.

Virginia is now one of seven states to have a law like this on the books. Advocates hope other states will take notice. "People with diabetes take a lot of medicine and anything to help reduce the cost of that medication is critical," said Lieb.