Jackson County is suing drugmakers and pharmacies over the high price of insulin
Insulin costs less than $2 per vial to make yet is sold for between $300-$700, according to a new court filing from Jackson County. The county is suing drugmakers like Eli Lilly and distributors like CVS Caremark for keeping the price of the life-saving drug artificially high.
Jackson County last month filed a lawsuit against insulin manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers over unfair insulin costs. Several states, including Kansas and California, are also suing over the same concern.
The county says drugmakers Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi are working with distributors CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and OptumRx to ensure the price of insulin continues to rise, even though it costs less to produce now than ever before.
In its lawsuit, Jackson County says the drugmakers pay refunds to pharmacies like CVS so their products can be on the list of approved drugs to sell, but this doesn't lower the list price for consumers.
And this is impacting patients not just in Kansas City but across all of Missouri, where 14.6% of the state’s population is living with diabetes.
“It's people making really difficult choices about what they're going to pay for this month and what they're not,” says Dr. Brandon Barthel, assistant professor at University Health.
Dr. Barthel joined KCUR’s Up To Date to discuss high insulin prices, their impact on the community and how to access affordable care.
Dr. Brandon Barthel, assistant professor, University Health