Arkansas sues drugmakers, drug benefit managers over insulin costs

May 11 (Reuters) – Arkansas’ attorney general on Wednesday accused drugmakers and pharmacy benefit managers of colluding to drive up the price of insulin drugs, the latest in a series of lawsuits aimed at to skyrocket the costs of life-saving medicine.

The lawsuit, filed in Pulaski County, Arkansas State Court, targets Eli Lilly and Co (LLY.N), Novo Nordisk A/S (NOVOb.CO) and Sanofi SA (SASY.PA), which together represent the vast majority of insulin medications sold in the United States.

He also names the country’s top pharmaceutical benefit managers (PBMs) – UnitedHealth Group Inc’s Optum unit (UNH.N), CVS Health Corp’s CVS Caremark (CVS.N) and Cigna Corp’s Express Scripts (CI.N). ). PBMs maintain lists of drugs covered by health insurance plans and negotiate prices with manufacturers.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

Eli Lilly said in a statement that he was ‘disappointed’ by ‘inaccurate claims’ in the lawsuit and voluntarily took steps to ensure patients could get his insulin for $35 a month or less. .

The other defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 8.4 million of the 37 million people with diabetes in the United States use insulin medications.

Prices for top-selling insulin products have skyrocketed in recent years. According to a 2021 congressional report, Eli Lilly had increased the price of its Humalog by 1,219% per vial since its launch, Novo Nordisk has increased the price of NovoLog by 627% since its introduction, and Sanofi has increased the price of Lantus by 715%. Read more

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in Wednesday’s lawsuit said PBMs, rather than negotiating lower prices on behalf of patients, accepted higher prices in exchange for generous rebates from drug manufacturers. drugs in order to get rich, violating an Arkansas law against deceptive marketing practices.

At a press conference, Rutledge said 50,000 Arkansans with diabetes were uninsured and many had been forced to ration insulin due to the high cost.

Similar lawsuits by the state of Minnesota, the city of Miami and groups of drug buyers are already underway.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Bill Berkrot

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Comments are closed.