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Rokita files lawsuit against insulin manufacturers over claimed 1000% price increase

The suit claims the manufacturers "conspired" with Pharmacy Benefit Managers to raise prices on insulin more than 1000%.
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Posted at 6:39 PM, Mar 20, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-20 18:39:21-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Harry Rybolt believes had insulin been more affordable, his son would still be alive.

“He was kind of a jokester,” Rybolt said while sharing photos of his late son, Jeremy.

Rybolt says his son died in 2019 after complications from diabetes. His son was in between jobs at the time and didn’t have insurance.

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Harry Rybolt shares a photo of he and his son, Jeremy.

Rybolt feels his inability to afford insulin contributed to his death.

“When I first was diabetic, I was paying about $2 bottle,” explained Rybolt. “Now my last bill, on Medicare, was $293 a bottle.“

The issue is one that many Hoosiers have reported having. Some even share stories of rationing bottles of insulin to not break the bank.

“You should never lose a child especially for something like this," Rybold said.

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Harry Rybolt sits down with WRTV's Griffin Gonzalez

On March 19, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita filed a 58-page civil lawsuit against insulin manufacturers Sanofi-Aventis and Novo Nordisk and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) CaremarkPCS, Caremark, Express Scripts, CVS health corp and OptumRX.

“We believe, we have alleged, and we will prove that they have taken advantage of people with serious medical conditions like diabetes,” explained Rokita in a press conference Tuesday night.

“Drugs that were priced at $20 when they were released in the late 1990s, are now priced between $300 and $700 and are causing a huge financial burden for families all across the state.”

Indiana drug manufacturer Eli Lilly is one of the largest providers of diabetic medication but was not listed in the lawsuit.

Rokita claims the corporation is cooperating with the attorney general and therefore would not be included at this time.

Sanofi and Nova Nordisk both released the following statements to WRTV regarding the filing:

Sanofi:

While we will not comment on the specifics of the allegations, Sanofi’s pricing practices have always complied with the law and the company is committed to helping patients access the medicine they need at the lowest possible price.
Following through on that commitment requires Sanofi to navigate a complex environment. Under the current system, fees and savings negotiated by health insurance companies and PBMs through rebates are not consistently passed through to patients in the form of lower co-pays or coinsurance. As a result, patients’ out-of-pocket costs continue to rise while - between 2012 and 2022 – the average net price of our insulins declined by 58%.

Sanofi believes that no one should struggle to pay for their insulin, regardless of their insurance status or income level, which is why we have a suite of innovative and patient-centric savings programs to help people reduce their prescription medicine costs.

More information can be found at TeamingUpforDiabetes.com

Nova Nordisk:

Novo Nordisk believes that the allegations in the lawsuit are without merit, and we intend to vigorously defend against the claims. While we will not comment further about pending litigation, we recognize that not all patient situations are the same and we have a number of different insulin affordability offerings available through NovoCare [novocare.com]. Importantly, we continually review and revise our offerings as well as work with diverse stakeholders to create solutions for differing patient needs.  
A $35.00 insulin option called MyInsulinRxTM is available from Novo Nordisk for eligible patients. The program builds on existing Novo Nordisk insulin affordability options and is intended to further lower out-of-pocket costs for eligible people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.