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Minnesota sues over high insulin prices

AG Lori Swanson says it's a 'life-or-death drug.'

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 12:00 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota is suing America’s three major makers of insulin.

State Attorney General Lori Swanson accuses Sanofi-Aventis, Novo Nordisk, and Eli Lilly and Co. of deceptively raising the list prices of insulin, making it less affordable to patients in high deductible health plans, the uninsured, and senior citizens on Medicare.

“Insulin is a life-or-death drug for people with diabetes,” says Swanson. “Many people can’t afford the price hikes but can’t afford to stop taking the medication either.”

According to Swanson, nearly 10 percent of Minnesota residents have diabetes, which is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Doctors say diabetics who don’t take their insulin may face kidney damage, heart attacks, nerve damage, and ketoacidosis.

The list price of some insulin products has more than doubled since 2011 and tripled since 2002, even though the original patent for insulin was sold for $1 in 1922 because the inventors wanted the drug to be widely available.

Swanson filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and seeks injunctive and monetary relief for Minnesota residents who paid out-of-pocket for their insulin.

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