California sued Novo Nordisk for “driving up the price” of insulin

is one of three pharmaceutical companies being sued by the US state of California for overcharging for .

More than 10 percent of the state’s adult population is diabetic, equivalent to at least 3 million people, and California Attorney General claims many can’t afford drugs that “could mean the difference between life and death” — even if they have health insurance.

The most vulnerable tend to come from low-income households. According to the , black and Hispanic people in the state are far more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic white people and far more likely to die as a result.

Crazy gap between countries
The lawsuit accuses Novo Nordisk – along with other pharma giants Eli Lilly (US) and (France) – of “driving up the cost of the life-saving drug through illegal, unfair and deceptive business practices in violation of California’s Unfair Competition Act”.

Bonta refers to a 2020 survey conducted by RAND which showed that the cost of insulin in the United States was four to ten times higher than in 32 other countries surveyed.

While a vial of insulin cost $98.7 in the United States, it was the second most expensive in , where it costs $21.48. Most of the countries were at least six to eight times cheaper: Japan (14.4), (12.0), Germany (11.0) and France (9.8).

Many are forced to ration their use
Three other companies — pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) , and OptumRx — are also named in the lawsuit, accused of “using their market power to overcharge patients.”

“Insulin is a necessary drug that millions of Americans depend on for their health, not a luxury good. With today’s lawsuit, we are fighting back against drug companies and PBMs who unacceptably and artificially increase the cost of life-saving drugs at the expense of vulnerable patients, ” claimed Bonta.

“No one should be forced to ration or go without essential medicines that could mean the difference between life and death. California will continue to lead the fight to ensure that everyone has equal access to the affordable health care and prescription drugs they need to stay healthy.”

Source: The Nordic Page

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