After seeking approval in May to settle litigations over the pricing of its insulin product Humalog, Eli Lilly is facing resistance from nine US states who are asking a New Jersey federal court to delay approval of the proposed $13.5 million deal.
Last week, lawyers for Arizona, Mississippi and Minnesota urged US District Judge Brian Martinotti to delay a decision on the deal unless it is changed to ensure states can file their own lawsuits over pricing of the insulin product.
The states are joining Illinois, Nebraska, Utah, Arkansas, Kansas and Montana in protest against the deal.
In the original lawsuit, Lilly, along with two of the country’s other insulin makers, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, has been accused of jacking up the list price of its insulin while offering hefty discounts to pharma middlemen — these middlemen are responsible for determining which drugs are made available through insurance plans.
The first litigation against Lilly was filed in 2017. Along with the $13.5 million settlement, Lilly also agreed to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs to $35 for four years through its Insulin Value Program.
However, the six states in that litigation argued that the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is already capping the cost to $35 for Medicare beneficiaries. Lawmakers in congress have proposed legislation for the cap to be applied to all American diabetic patients.
In a separate filing of their own last week, the six states said that given local insulin price caps, Lilly was attempting to settle claims valued at around $1 billion by offering a lower price that is already being ordained by law. Thus, the $13.5 million offer doesn’t cut it.
In last week’s court filing, the three new states joining the insulin pricing litigation claimed Lilly’s settlement is a “brazen attempt” to restrict future litigation.
Lilly decided to offer the multi-million-dollar settlement after fighting the initial 2017 litigation for several years.
US insulin makers have come under fire as the US is the country with the most expensive insulin in the world.
In response, Lilly announced it will be slashing the price of most of its insulin products by 70 percent, which will take effect in the fourth quarter of 2023. The current list price of a five-pack of Humalog pens is $530.40 before discounts and a vial of insulin is about $274.