City of Detroit and local counties suing Big Pharma for illegally inflating the price of insulin

Posted at 5:19 PM, Feb 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-07 19:11:40-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Angela Moye is a mother to four beautiful girls.

She told our team that it was after the birth of her youngest 7 months ago that her doctor said she needed to start taking insulin due to excessive body swelling.

"They put me on insulin just to get my weight down and stuff," said Moye.

Moye shared that the results have been life-changing for her, she's feeling much healthier and as a result, has been able to be a better mother to her children.

However, the price of insulin has been difficult.

"My doctor had provided me a coupon so with the coupon it was probably $800 still, it’s like ridiculous," said Moye when talking about a 3 month supply of insulin.

Moye said she finds herself having to choose between insulin and monthly necessities "all the time."

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of insulin has gone up 1,527% since 1997.

A huge price spike affecting hundreds-of-thousands of people in Michigan alone.

Paul Novak, managing attorney at Weitz Luxenberg told us; "If you look at insulin prices in Japan, or Canada, or anywhere in Europe, they’re an order of magnitude less than they are here in Michigan or anywhere else in the United States."

According to Novak, that's because some of the world's largest pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers have been illegally and artificially inflating the price of insulin.

Butch Hollowell, managing partner at The Miller Law Firm said, "It’s an illegal scheme where essentially the manufacturers get kickbacks or rebates from these pharmacy managers and give themselves a position in the market which is unlawful."

In response, Novak, Hollowell, and other attorneys, are filing lawsuits against the pharma companies Lilly, Express Scripts, Sanofi Aventis, Optum RX, Novo Nordisk, and CVS Caremark

"We’re filing this on behalf of Wayne County, Macomb County, Monroe County, Washtenaw County, and soon to be the City of Detroit," said Hollowell. "Combined that represents about a third of the population of the State of Michigan."

The attorneys said their hope with these cases is to lower the cost of insulin and pay the municipalities back after years of overcharging.

"It will be a blessing if it goes down," said Moye.