As Biden Highlights Insulin Pricing in State of the Union, Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Seek Class Certification in Lawsuit Against Insulin Makers
NEWARK, N.J. – Attorneys at Hagens Berman representing a proposed class of insulin purchasers in a lawsuit against Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly for systematic overpricing of insulin have sought to certify the lawsuit’s class, just as President Joe Biden highlighted the need to “cap the cost of insulin” in his Mar. 1, 2022 State of the Union.
“We filed our motion for class certification at the exact moment President Biden addressed the nation regarding the shocking price hikes of insulin,” said Steve Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman. “In our lawsuit against the big three makers of insulin – Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly – we stand with the president and his mission of stopping the rip off, once and for all.”
Berman serves as court-appointed co-lead counsel representing insulin purchasers in the lawsuit.
“Our clients living with diabetes have been imprisoned by this racket orchestrated by insulin makers that forces them to pay hundreds of dollars a month just to stay alive, when a vial of insulin is in fact incredibly cheap to make,” Berman added. “We ask the court to approve this class of folks trapped paying the phony list price for insulin and return to them what they’ve lost over years of overpricing.”
The law firm filed the first-of-its-kind lawsuit in 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The class action details several accounts from patients resorting to extreme measures to survive rising insulin prices, including starving themselves to control their blood sugars, intentionally slipping into diabetic ketoacidosis to receive insulin samples from hospital emergency rooms, under-dosing insulin, and taking expired insulin.
After several years of hard-fought litigation, plaintiffs’ attorneys in the case have now filed to solidify a potential class of millions of Americans. Defendants’ response to the motion for class certification is due June 2022.
“Cap the cost of insulin”
In his State of the Union address, President Biden highlighted the story of a 13-year-old boy, Joshua Davis, and his father both living with Type 1 diabetes, a drug Biden pointed out only costs about $10 a vial to make. The Davis family, who are from Midlothian, Virginia, reportedly pays $6,000 to $7,000 a year on insulin.
“But drug companies charge families like Joshua and his dad up to 30 times more,” Biden said. “Imagine what it’s like to look at your child who needs insulin and have no idea how you’re going to pay for it. What it does to your dignity, your ability to look your child in the eye, to be the parent you expect to be.”
“For Joshua, and for the 200,000 other young people with Type 1 diabetes, let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month so everyone can afford it,” Biden added.
The firm’s longstanding lawsuit seeks to do just that.
“While President Biden seeks to end the outrageous pricing of insulin through legislation, we will continue to vigorously seek relief for the families and patients already harmed by these outrageous prices,” Berman said. “We seek to send a deterrent message to other pharmaceutical companies that Americans cannot be preyed upon financially when accessing life-saving medication.”
A Behind-the-Scenes quid pro quo Arrangement
Hagens Berman’s national class-action lawsuit against the makers of insulin illustrates a massive behind-the-scenes arrangement orchestrated to hike insulin prices, and concealment of the deal.
The lawsuit states that in recent years, Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly raised the sticker or “benchmark” prices on their drugs by more than 150 percent. Some plaintiffs now pay almost $900 per month just to obtain the drugs they need, according to the firm.
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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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman is a global plaintiffs’ rights complex litigation law firm with a tenacious drive for achieving real results for those harmed by corporate negligence and fraud. Since its founding in 1993, the firm’s determination has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.