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California Sues Insulin Makers For Driving Up Drug Cost

 |  January 12, 2023

California is suing a group of pharmacy managers and insulin manufacturers, including pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, for using “unlawful, unfair and deceptive” means to drive up the cost of the diabetes drug, Attorney General Rob Bonta announced on Thursday.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, also lists drug makers Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, as well as pharmacy benefit management companies CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and OptumRx, according to a press release from Bonta’s office.

The complaint alleges the insulin makers—which produce more than 90% of the global supply of insulin—as well as the pharmacy benefit management companies that control the drugs covered on health insurance plans, have “leveraged their market power” in an effort to overcharge diabetes patients.

Read more: PBMs: The Middlemen Who Drive up Drug Costs

Bonta accused those companies of violating the state’s Unfair Competition Law by “unacceptably and artificially” inflating insulin costs, making it so expensive that “many diabetics struggle to afford it” even if it’s covered by their health insurance.

The suit specifically accuses the drug makers of “aggressively” increasing the list price of insulin “in lockstep with each other,” hurting both diabetes patients and competition.