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Arkansas AG sues three big pharmaceutical companies for raising the cost of insulin

Three large drug companies are facing a lawsuit in Arkansas over allegations that they helped drive up the cost of insulin in the state, just as discussions about potential insulin price ceilings heat up across the country.

Razorback State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the lawsuit Wednesday against Indianapolis, Ind.-based Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, a Danish company, and France’s Sanofi.

The price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years, making the medication that many diabetics need to manage their condition on a daily basis the poster child for America’s drug price crisis.

Controlling the price of insulin has even become a rare issue with bipartisan support, with both Republicans like Rutledge and Democrats like President Joe Biden and Sen. Raphael Warnock showing their support.

Leslie Rutledge (pictured) is suing three major pharmaceutical companies for allegedly driving up the cost of insulin, her office announced this week.

Leslie Rutledge (pictured) is suing three major pharmaceutical companies for allegedly driving up the cost of insulin, her office announced this week.

‘Thousands of Arkansans rely on insulin every day to live their best lives. These drugmakers and PBMs have inflated the price of insulin and other diabetes-related drugs to line their own pockets,” Rutledge said in a statement.

“They have endangered the lives of thousands of Arkansans and Americans, who simply cannot afford to buy this life-saving drug. Today we begin the fight to stop this outrageous inflation of insulin prices.’

The AG’s office reports that more than 400,000 people in Arkansas have been diagnosed with diabetes, of which 800,000 are prediabetic.

It is also the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, and lower-limb amputations in the state.

These types of disastrous effects are often due to a person not being able to control their diabetes, which is often achieved through regular use of insulin to help regulate blood pressure.

Insulin is a lifesaver for diabetics, and many cannot live without it, forcing them to pay the cost of the drug, no matter how high.

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Two insulins produced by Eli Lilly are among the drugs that have seen the highest price growth in the past ten years, according to a Nice Rx report.

Two insulins produced by Eli Lilly are among the drugs that have seen the highest price growth in the past ten years, according to a Nice Rx report.

As a result, insulin has become the fastest-growing price of any drug in the United States.

A report published by Nice Rx last month found that Humulin, an insulin made by Eli Lilly, increased its price by 1,070 percent from 2012 to 2022, the most of any drug in the United States.

Humalong, also an insulin product from Eli Lilly, also saw a 213 percent price increase over the course of the decade, a fifth of any drug included in the analysis.

The AG’s office notes that it costs less than $2 to produce insulin and that synthetic versions cost about $14. Despite that, it could now cost as much as $700 for a vial of the drug in the state.

Rutledge points to publicly traded companies and their associated pharmacy benefit managers, who operate as intermediaries between customers and drug manufacturers, for creating these problems.

None of the three companies named in the lawsuit immediately responded to a request for comment from DailyMail.com.

President Joe Biden has been a proponent of a $35-a-month federal cap on insulin prices and pointed to the high prices Americans face during his State of the Union address earlier this year.

“One in 10 Americans has diabetes,” Biden said, before recounting the story of a Virginia teen he met whose family was having trouble paying for his insulin medication.

‘Pharmaceutical companies will continue to do very well [with a price cap]. And while we’re at it, let Medicare negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, like the VA already does.’

A federal cap is already part of Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ (BBB) ​​agenda, and Warnock has also introduced a separate bill proposing the price cap.

France-based Sanofi is one of the companies sued

Denmark-based Novo is one of the companies sued

France-based Sanofi and Denmark’s Novo Nordisk are also among the companies sued by Arkansas AG.

It is highly unlikely that BBB will become law, as the bill is currently stalled in the Senate and has virtually no chance of getting the 60 votes needed to bypass filibuster.

According data According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Americans pay ten times more per vial of insulin than residents of similar developed countries.

High prices have been blamed for many preventable deaths and for some Americans to engage in the dangerous practice of ‘insulin rationing’, in which a person takes smaller doses than they need every day, or even skips some days, in an effort to make each vial last longer.

“It’s just absurd, beyond absurd, that Americans with diabetes sometimes pay more than $600 just for a 40-day supply of insulin,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier this year, also democrat.

Some Republicans, such as John Kennedy of Louisiana, have also voiced support for price caps on insulin.

Both red and blue states, such as Maine, New York, Utah and West Virginia, have also passed insulin price cap bills in recent months.

However, many of these limits only apply to Americans with health insurance, as it shifts the high drug costs from the customer to the insurer.

Someone without health insurance (about 28 million people) will still have to pay out-of-pocket costs.

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