Kansas AG Derek Schmidt files lawsuit alleging illegal practices for inflated insulin prices

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 5:11 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KCTV) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a lawsuit Friday against leading national insulin manufactures over alleged violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. In the lawsuit, Schmidt accused the companies of operating an insulin pricing scheme that forces Kansans to pay excessive costs for the life-saving drug to control diabetes.

The lawsuit was filed in Shawnee County District Court. Schmidt’s complaint alleges that defendants maintained a pricing scheme that inflated the cost to produce insulin, forcing Kansans with diabetes to make a choice between rationing their medication or going without insulin and risk death.

Companies named in the lawsuit include Eli Lilly and Company, Sanofi-Aventus and Novo Nordisk. Those three companies combine for 99 percent of the insulin currently on the U.S. market. Also named were PBMs CVS Health Corporation, CVS Pharmacy, Inc., Caremark Rx, LLC, Caremark, LLC, CaremarkPCS Health, LLC, Evernorth Health, Inc., Express Scripts, Inc., Express Scripts Administrators, LLC, Medco Health Solutions, Inc., ESI Mail Pharmacy Service, Inc., Express Scripts Pharmacy, Inc., and OptumRx, Inc.

“Kansans with diabetes who are either uninsured or are in high deductible plans have been substantially damaged as a direct result of the scheme,” Schmidt said in a release. “One in four Kansas diabetics can no longer afford their insulin and are forced to either ration their medicine or to go without. The consequences can be fatal.”

The lawsuit also alleges that since 2003, these insulin manufacturers have worked together to raise the reported prices of insulin in an “astounding matter.” Insulin that costs manufacturers less than $5 to produce and was originally priced at $20 when released, Schmidt said is now ranging between $300 and $700 in price in Kansas.

Schmidt’s lawsuit is the second that has been produced via an investigation that began in 2020 into the practices and activities of PBMs in Kansas.