Hagens Berman’s Steve Berman Named Interim Lead Counsel in Class-Action Lawsuit for Insulin Overpricing Racket
NEWARK, N.J. – Steve Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman, was named lead counsel for 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.
The Sept. 18, 2017, order appointing Berman to lead the case came from U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, and also appointed Hagens Berman’s co-counsel, James E. Cecchi, as lead counsel.
The order noted all applicants’ as “highly regarded, well known throughout the legal community,” but Judge Martinotti selected Berman for his track record of other wins regarding pharmaceutical drug pricing schemes, and the firm’s dedication to the case, calling attention to the fact that the firm has “invested over a year in developing the class’s claim, and it filed the first complaint in this litigation.”
“We are thankful that the court put its trust in our firm to lead this case for the millions of people living with diabetes affected by the fraudulently heightened prices of insulin,” Steve Berman said. “We look forward to bringing just relief to those who are practically imprisoned by these price hikes, and continuing to open the doors to the behind-closed-doors deals within drug pricing.”
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 other 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.
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.”
The lawsuit states that in the last five years alone, 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.
About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with 11 offices across the country. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List eight times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.