Last updated on August 31st, 2023
Insulin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the human body. People who suffer from diabetes may not make enough insulin on their own, so they are required to routinely supplement with synthetic insulin. It is typically delivered by an injection or an insulin pump.
As with many medications that people rely on for their health, the price of insulin can make a huge difference in whether illnesses are well-managed or poorly managed. The cost of these medications can become a matter of public interest, especially in cases where it is suspected that manufacturers are putting profits over people’s health.
This happened in 2017 when a class action lawsuit was brought against insulin manufacturers for allegedly inflating prices. There have been some recent updates in this suit. Read on to find out what has happened and what to do if you were the victim of insulin price-fixing.
In 2017, a class action lawsuit was brought against three manufacturers of synthetic insulin: Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi. This suit alleged that the manufacturers colluded to increase the price of insulin, thereby making the medication inaccessible to people who needed it to survive.
A class action lawsuit occurs when a group of people (or plaintiffs) have been injured in the same way by the same person or company. Those plaintiffs work together to bring a court case against the defendant. If the class action lawsuit is successful, then everyone in the group who was injured can claim a portion of the recovery.
In this particular case, it was alleged that Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi worked together to increase the consumer price of insulin more than 150% over five years, causing some users to not use insulin or use less than the required amount, which led to both acute and long-term health issues.
Plenty. With lawsuits like this, the results often provide more than just financial remuneration for people who have been injured. Instead, they can sometimes lead to a change in how things are done in the future. This is the case with the insulin price-fixing case.
The members of the lawsuit class requested damages to compensate them for the health risks they undertook when insulin was priced too highly. But it is also important to ensure that the defendants in this case do not continue to exploit those with medical conditions for financial gain. Therefore, it is important that the terms of the lawsuit include stipulations about the ongoing price of insulin.
In 2022, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act. Part of this act sets the price that Medicare users will pay for insulin to $35 per month. Although this was welcome news for Medicare users, it doesn’t cover anyone who uses Medicaid or private insurance, and therefore is limited in scope.
In March 2023, Representatives John Kennedy (R-La.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) introduced the bipartisan Affordable Insulin Act Now of 2023. This act would cap the price of insulin for all people, including the uninsured, at $35 for a 30-day supply. This act is currently in committee and is not yet law; however, it does indicate a willingness amongst politicians to consider a law making insulin affordable for all.
As of August 2023, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi have not yet offered settlements in the insulin price fixing case. However, in May 2023, Eli Lilly offered a settlement for their portion of the lawsuit. Although this settlement has been offered, it is not finalized until the court officially accepts it.
Eli Lilly agreed to pay $13.5 million to members of the class action as part of the settlement. This money will pay for administration costs and legal fees for members of the lawsuit class.
In addition to the cash payment, Eli Lilly agreed to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $35 per month for the next four years. Those who are not eligible for the $35 per month cap (for example, if they no longer use insulin from Eli Lilly or are covered by Medicaid) may tap into the $13.5 million cash settlement to reduce their insulin costs for the next four years.
Considering that around 7.4 million Americans use synthetic insulin, this settlement is almost offensively low. Eli Lilly claims that the value of the settlement is around $500 million. However, much of this value is tied up in a cap on the cost of insulin.
But, as mentioned above, Congress is making moves towards capping the cost of insulin in the United States. It may be the fact that insulin costs would be reduced to $35 per month with or without this settlement, meaning that the settlement might be worth less than Eli Lilly claims.
In mid-August 2023, nine states objected to a stipulation in the settlement that they claimed may prevent states from bringing lawsuits against Eli Lilly in regards to price fixing. These states have asked the court hearing the class action lawsuit not to grant final approval to the settlement until concerns are addressed.
If you’re eligible to join the lawsuit, there is still time to do so. If you purchased any Eli Lilly products between January 1, 2009 and the date that the settlement receives final approval, you may be part of the lawsuit class. Speak with a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible to see what your options are.
If you purchased insulin from Novo Nordisk or Sanofi, no settlement has yet been proposed. This means that, if you are qualified, you can still join the lawsuit class. This is also a situation where you should speak with a qualified attorney as soon as you can.
If you have purchased insulin from Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, or Sanofi, here are your next steps:
Are you looking for an attorney to assist with your lawsuit? Contact Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz for a free consultation. Our attorneys can help you determine if you have a case and what your next steps should be. Call today at 1.937.222.2222.
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