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Beshear Takes Action Against 23 Drug Makers Over Skyrocketing Prescription Drug Prices

Posted at 2:54 PM, May 13, 2019

FRANKFORT, KY. (LEX 18) – On Monday, Attorney General Andy Beshear announced two lawsuits seeking to recover ill-gotten gains from 23 drug manufacturers that skyrocketed the prices of more than 100 prescription drugs, including drugs to treat diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer.

In Franklin Circuit Court, Beshear filed suit against three of the largest insulin manufacturers, Eli Lilly, Sanofi-Aventis, and Novo Nordisk, for driving up insulin prices.

Beshear also announced that he has joined 43 attorneys general in a federal lawsuit targeting Teva Pharmaceuticals, plus 19 other drug manufacturers, and 15 senior executives for inflating generic drug prices.

In the insulin lawsuit, Beshear alleges that since 2008 the three defendants, who control 96% of the world’s insulin market, have increased the price of their analog insulin products at least 10 times, while the costs to make insulin have stayed low, usually less than $7.00 per vial.

The wholesale price has jumped to nearly $300 and the price paid by those Kentuckians hit hardest by the deception can exceed $1000 a month.

Sanofi’s Apidra insulin for injection increased in price 311% from December 2010 to January 2019, while the Lantus insulin for injection increased 285% in the same time frame.

Novolog FlexPen, manufactured and sold by Novo Nordisk, more than doubled in price from $255 per package in July 2012 to $558 in July 2018 without any significant change to the product.

Eli Lilly’s Humalog Pen increased from $235 per package in November 2011 to $530 in May 2017.

The suit states that Kentuckians without insurance or on high-deductible health plans, Medicare Part D recipients and those who pay coinsurance are hurt most, as they are forced to pay the full amount or a percentage of the artificially inflated list price of the drug.

Kentucky has the seventh highest rate of diabetes in the nation.

You can watch the entire press conference here.