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Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. Forum News Service file photo

Minnesota attorney general files insulin pricing lawsuit

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota attorney general filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, Oct. 16, against three major U.S. manufacturers of insulin, allegeding them of deceptively raising the list prices of insulin and making it less affordable to patients in high deductible health plans, the uninsured and senior citizens on Medicare.

“Insulin is a life-or-death drug for people with diabetes. Many people can’t afford the price hikes but can’t afford to stop taking the medication either,” Attorney General Lori Swanson said in a statement.

The lawsuit alleges that the drug companies fraudulently set an artificially high “list” price for their insulin products but then negotiated a lower actual price by paying rebates to pharmacy benefit managers.

The products included in the lawsuit include Sanofi’s Lantus, Novo Nordisk’s NovoLog, and Eli Lilly’s HumaLog, among others.

According to Swanson, the list price of some insulin products has more than doubled since 2011 and tripled since 2002. For example, the cost of Levemir increased from $120.64 for 100 units/ml vial in 2012 to $293.75 in 2018; HumaLog increased from $122.60 for 100 units/ml vial in 2011 to $274.70 in 2017; and Lantus increased from $99.35 in 2010 when it first entered the market to $269.54 in 2018.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, seeks injunctive and monetary relief for Minnesota residents who paid out-of-pocket for their insulin.

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