LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a new lawsuit Wednesday targeting “major pharmaceutical companies” over the price of insulin for Arkansas consumers.
In a statement, the attorney general’s office claimed the grounds for the lawsuit were acts made by the companies that had “made prescription drugs unaffordable for Arkansans.”
The attorney general’s lawsuit outlines what Rutledge called “the Insulin Pricing Scheme,” in which drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) would work in unison to have the drug companies “artificially and willingly raise their list prices” for insulin products, and then kick back part of that increase back to the PBMs.
In the last 10 years, the lawsuit claims, the manufacturers have driven up the prices of their insulin products by as much as 1,000% within days of each other. Rutledge claimed that the prices to make these drugs had not fundamentally changed, even though a drug originally sold for $20 in 1997 is now selling at $350.
Rutledge said she is suing under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and is looking for a permanent injunction against the companies as well as restitution for overpayments and a $10,000 fine for each violation of the ADTPA.
The drug companies listed in the suit are Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi, while CVS Caremark, Express Scripts, and OptumRx are the PBMs listed.
This is the second large-scale announcement of a suit between the state and business Rutledge has made in recent weeks.
Late in April she announced a new lawsuit targeting Family Dollar claiming the retailer was engaged in deceptive practices and put customers at risk, all tied to pest contamination issues at a West Memphis distribution center.