Arkansas has accused Eli Lilly And Co (NYSE: LLY), Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO), Sanofi SA (NASDAQ: SNY), and three of the largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) of artificially driving up insulin prices.
The complaint, filed by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, alleges the defendants devised a scheme in which the Big Pharmas would "artificially and willingly raise their list prices" and then pay a part of those earnings back to the PBMs as rebates.
"These drug manufacturers and PBMs have inflated the price of insulin and other diabetes-related medication to line their own pockets," Leslie Rutledge said
The PBMs listed in the suit include CVS Health Corporation's (NYSE: CVS) Caremark, Cigna Corp's (NYSE: CI) Express Scripts, and UnitedHealth Group Inc's (NYSE: UNH) OptumRx, which control 80% of the PBM market.
High prices force some patients to go without treatment, and back in March, the House passed a bill that would cap insulin prices at either $35 a month or 25% of an insurance plan's negotiated price.
According to the Arkansas lawsuit, for the last 15 years, the pharma companies "have in lockstep raised the prices of their respective diabetes drugs in an astounding manner, even though the cost to produce these drugs has decreased during that same time."
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