In a first-of-its-kind move, the Mississippi attorney general last week filed a lawsuit accusing several drug makers and pharmacy benefit managers of conspiring to set prices for insulin, the life-savings diabetes treatment that has become a poster child for the high cost of prescription medicines.
The lawsuit alleged that the manufacturers benefited from a scheme in which prices were “artificially” inflated to win placement on formularies, the list of medicines for which insurance is provided. And pharmacy benefit managers profited by receiving “secret” rebates from the manufacturers and also through their own mail-order pharmacy sales.
As a result, the state each year overpaid by “millions of dollars” for insulin and state residents with diabetes – who number more than 400,000, or 13.6% of the population – paid higher-than-necessary out-of-pocket costs. In general, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in Mississippi is $3.5 billion and one in four health care dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes, the lawsuit stated.
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