Judge Denies Insulin Makers’ Motion to Dismiss Class-Action Lawsuit Regarding Skyrocketing Insulin Prices


Attorney representing individuals living with diabetes against the pharma defendants says judge’s opinion “blows the insulin racket wide open” to expose deals with PBMs

NEWARK, N.J. Today, a federal judge’s opinion has greenlighted a national class-action lawsuit filed against Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly for their systematic overpricing of insulin and concealment of a behind-the-scenes arrangement orchestrated to hike insulin prices, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.

Hon. Brian R. Martinotti, U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey granted in part and denied in part the drug companies’ motion to dismiss the case. The opinion allows state law claims from plaintiffs – people living with diabetes who Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk have forced to pay skyrocketing insulin prices – and gave attorneys representing them ability to address concerns regarding individual state representation. To the extent the court requires a patient from each state, attorneys say they can and will add clients to satisfy the court’s concerns.

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Regarding the plaintiffs’ state claims, Judge Martinotti’s opinion read, “This Court finds Plaintiffs have adequately alleged fraudulent, unfair, or unconscionable conduct.” The court also held that the plaintiffs “adequately pled an ascertainable loss.”

The lawsuit states that in recent years, Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly have raised the sticker or “benchmark” prices on their drugs by more than 150 percent. Some plaintiffs now pay almost $900 dollars per month just to obtain the drugs they need, according to the firm.

Hagens Berman filed the first-of-its-kind lawsuit in 2017, detailing several accounts from patients resorting to extreme measures to survive rising insulin prices, including starving themselves to control their blood sugars, under-dosing their insulin, and taking expired insulin. The complaint also detailed how class members having intentionally allowed themselves to slip into diabetic ketoacidosis – a potentially fatal blood syndrome caused by lack of insulin in the body – so that they can obtain insulin samples from hospital emergency rooms.

Steve Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman, was named co-lead counsel in the case by Judge Martinotti.

“In general we are pleased with the decision because we can now bring consumer protection claims in most states,” Berman said. “This ruling also clears the way for us to begin obtaining discovery from the manufacturers and PBMs so we can shine the light on exactly what has driven insulin prices sky high.”

“This ruling blows the insulin racket wide open,” he added.

The complaint states that this once affordable drug is now out of reach for many patients due to a behind-the-scenes quid pro quo arrangement between drug makers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs): “increased benchmark prices are the result of a scheme and enterprise among each defendant and several bulk drug distributors. In this scheme, the defendant drug companies set two different prices for their insulin treatments: a publicly-reported, benchmark price and a lower, real price that they offer to certain bulk drug distributors.”

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  • Attorneys are currently looking for people who purchased Humalog, Basaglar, Lantus, Apidra, Toujeo, Novolog, Levemir, Fiasp, and/or Tresiba from the following states: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, D.C., Hawaii, Kansas, Lousiana, Nevada, New, York, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, or Wyoming. Sign up here.

  • Did you purchase Humalog in in North Carolina or New York? Sign up here.

  • Did you purchase Fiasp, Novolog, Tresiba, or Levemir in Louisiana or Missouri? Sign up here.

  • Did you purchase Lantus, Apidra or Toujeo in Maryland? Sign up here.


About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with 10 offices across the country. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

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Attorneys are currently looking for people who purchased Lantus, Levemir, Novolog, Humalog and Apidra from the following states: Alaska, Alabama, D.C., Hawaii, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia or Wyoming.

Did you purchase Humalog in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee or Vermont?

Did you purchase Novolog or Levemir in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, or Washington?

Did you purchase Lantus, Apidra or Toujeo in Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Tennessee or Washington?

04/06/18: Amended Complaint Filed

Hagens Berman Files Amended Complaint more »

09/18/17: Steve Berman Named Lead Counsel

02/07/17: Case Transfer

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro transferred the Insulin Class Action on behalf of patients paying high out-of-pocket costs for analog insulin to the District of New Jersey from the District of Massachusetts because there was a related case ongoing in the District of New Jersey. Efficiency concerns led us to transfer the case from the District of Massachusetts to that of New Jersey. Absent such a move it is likely the case would have been subject to an MDL petition, which would have slowed the case’s progress.

James Cecchi, of Carella, Byrne, Cecchi, Olstein, Brody & Agnello, P.C., filed a related suit on behalf of an investor class against Novo Nordisk in New Jersey. James Cecchi remains as one of the lawyers in that suit. There will be a lead counsel selection process pursuant to the federal law governing securities cases in that lawsuit. Hagens Berman Sobol and Shapiro is not involved in that investor class lawsuit.

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro is proposed lead counsel for the patient-plaintiff class. We will continue to represent only this patient class, and advocate in the best interests of this class only. As of right now, James Cecchi is local counsel for the patient-plaintiff class. However, because Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro is lead counsel, our firm will be directing the course of this litigation. We will do so in the best interests of the patient-plaintiff class, and that class only.

01/30/17: Case Filed