LAFONT: Landry Takes On Pricey Insulin Manufacturers In New Suit

Attorney General Jeff Landry officially announced a lawsuit Tuesday morning that would be targeting the excessively high prices of insulin set by drug manufacturers.

The lawsuit looks to act on behalf of those within Louisiana who have been affected by the severe price gouging that has happened over the past two decades at the hands of pharmeceutical companies. Not only have diabetics felt the disastrous effects of these practices, but state departments that pay for insulin in the way of health benefits have felt staggering economic impacts as well.

“So many of our neighbors struggling with diabetes require insulin to control and treat their condition; as a result, these Louisiana residents are reliant upon the companies that manufacture diabetes medications in order to stay alive,” said Attorney General Landry. “Unfortunately, manufacturers are either colluding with PBMs or being complicit in the ridiculous prices that PBMs have imposed on patients. These schemes have allowed the price to increase more than 1,000% – purely for their own financial gain.”

The lawsuit seeks to primarily target manufacturers Sanofi-Aventis and Novo Nordisk. These companies are two out of the three manufacturers of insulin that exist.

While safety of the use of insulin has increased since its discovery in the 1920s, the overall efficacy has not seen any real increases since the drugs were being mass developed; it has especially not seen increases that warrant the insane price increases that have occurred in the 21st century.

The lawsuit cites Harvard Medical School professor David Nathan who commented on more recent insulins, stating, “I don’t think it takes a cynic such as myself to see most of these [insulins] are being developed to preserve patent protection. The truth is they are marginally different, and the clinical benefits of them over the older drugs have been zero.”

Consensus surrounding insulin has shown that there is really no need for companies to drive up insulin prices based on quality, but that has not stopped manufacturers one bit.

The previously mentioned Novo Nordisk falsely raised prices for a package of their Novolog drug pens from $108 to $671 from 2002 to 2020. Sanofi-Aventis did the same with the top-selling analog insulin known as Lantus when they raised prices from $200 for a pack of pens in 2006 to over $500 in 2020 for the same product.


Landry also shined the spotlight on Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs.

PBMs are third party companies that originally had the noble purpose of negotiating for proper drug pricing as they are an intermediary between drug companies and insurance providers. They often were able to keep industry prices lower.

It has been well documented that PBMs have been integrating with pharmacies since the early 2000s, giving them all the more incentive to betray their original role and keep drug prices high. PBMs now play a seemingly huge role in the pharmaceutical supply chain, which has led to the situation we are currently in regarding outrageous prices.

Thus, the lawsuit also goes after major PBMs.

We have seen many attempting to bring the practices of these companies to light for years, along with the testimonies of many in Louisiana who fear not being able to afford the insulin they need.

The latter-half of the lawsuit mentions how high prices have led to Louisiana Medicaid spending over $170 million per year on diabetes medication alone. More alarming is its mention of how 1 in 4 diabetics in Louisiana are unable to afford their medication, leading to bad practices such as rationing or skipping doses.

With this litigation making Louisiana yet another state that is going after pharmaceutical companies, one can only hope that the outcome is the best one for the citizens that AG Jeff Landry seeks to protect.



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