Arkansas attorney general files lawsuit against major insulin companies
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK/KAIT) - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says with prices for insulin getting out of hand, she is doing her part in lowering the cost.
On Wednesday, her office filed a 100-page lawsuit to the Pulaski County Circuit Court, claiming drug manufacturers and Pharmacy Benefit Managers were manipulating the market for their own gain.
“The manufacturers and the PBM’s profit off this insulin pricing scheme by artificially inflating the price of the drug,” Rutledge said.
She said she is suing under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and will seek a $10,000 fine for each violation of the act.
In the complaint, Rutledge claimed Novo Nordisk, Sanofi and Eli Lily conspired with Express Scripts, Caremark and Optum to drive the price of insulin up to increase their own pay.
“Honestly, it is really infuriating,” said Caleb Burley.
Burley was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 12 years old, according to content partner KARK.
“My blood sugar was over 1100,” he said.
Burley is now 24 years old, and he told KARK he’s lucky to be paying $25 a month for his insulin, something that keeps him alive.
That price, Burley said is because of his insurance coverage, and without it, the price would soar hundreds more.
“It would cost me $1,646.40 a month,” he said.
Rutledge said enough is enough.
“The cost of insulin has gone up 1,000% in the last 15 years,” she said.
Rutledge said a drug that once sold for $20 in 1997 is now going for $350 without making any changes to the drug.
“Sadly, I wasn’t surprised,” Burley said.
He told KARK that living shouldn’t have to be a choice, but instead, a guarantee.
“These insulin companies are essentially saying were not going to guarantee you get life or the pursuit of happiness,” Burley said.
According to the attorney general’s office, about 400,000 Arkansans have diabetes and about 800,00 are pre-diabetic.
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