Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is suing the nation’s three major insulin manufacturers (Sanofi-Aventis, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly), alleging they deceptively raised list prices. Swanson says their objective is larger rebates to companies that decide which medications are covered by insurance — to ensure *their* brand of insulin stays on the list. She says, “The drug companies, they keep raising the price, that list price, more and more and more, so that the rebate is bigger and bigger and bigger, because the P-B-Ms [pharmacy benefit managers] make their money based upon the amount of the rebate.”
Swanson says patients with high-deductible health insurance policies and those in the Medicare “donut hole” are particularly hurt by large increases in the cost of insulin. But Swanson says those price increases can also impact everyone else.
Amanda Swanson (no relation to the attorney general) says she has health insurance but had to ration her insulin to buy groceries for her family. “How would that make you feel, if you had to decide to not feed your kids or, like, limit yourself? I mean, it’s a pretty terrible feeling,” she says.