BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced a new lawsuit aimed at protecting diabetic residents from high costs on Tuesday morning.
For people living with diabetes, it can be expensive to buy insulin, some even go without because of the cost. Landry wants to make insulin affordable for everyone.
“So many of our neighbors struggling with diabetes require insulin to control and treat their condition,” said Landry. “As a result, these Louisiana residents are reliant upon the companies that manufacture diabetes medications in order to stay alive.”
Emily Wood has been a Type 1 diabetic for more than 10 years and said taking insulin is a matter of life or death.
“Insulin for me is thousands of dollars a year, even though I have great insurance. It’s not a luxury. It’s really a necessity,” said Wood.
At the age of 26, Wood said she is not completely independent because she has to depend on her parents to pay for her medicine.
“My amazing parents have been able to provide for me and afford my insulin, but not everyone is in that position,” she said.
And she is not alone. More than 500,000 Louisiana residents are required to purchase insulin each month. Landry said it is ridiculous how the price has increased in the last couple of years.
The attorney general talked about how diabetes affects many Louisianans yet Pharmacy Benefit Managers have increased costs for insulin. Making those who can’t afford it simply go without.
“They can suffer heart damage, kidney problem, blindness, circulatory problems,” said Landry.
And the list goes on, that’s why he filed a lawsuit against seven Pharmacy Benefit Managements, or PBMs, which are the companies that distribute insulin and sets the prices. Landry wants to cut out the middleman.
“It is the reason why we can go to Mexico or to Canada and find drugs at much lower prices because they don’t have this middleman scheme here in America,” he said.
The new lawsuit will make insulin $35 for everyone. Pharmacist and owner of Prescriptions to Geaux TJ Woodard believes it is crucial for this to happen.
“Find someone, you know, with a Type 1 diabetic child. And I can guarantee you they’ve had issues getting either their supplies, their pump, or their insulin covered by their insurance company, said Woodard.
BRProud contacted all 7 companies involved in the lawsuit. Only one, Sanofi, responded.
The full statement reads:
While we will not comment on the specifics of the allegations, Sanofi’s pricing practices have always complied with the law and the company is committed to helping patients access the medicine they need at the lowest possible price.
Following through on that commitment requires Sanofi to navigate a complex environment. Under the current system, savings negotiated by health insurance companies and PBMs through rebates are not consistently passed through to patients in the form of lower co-pays or coinsurance. As a result, patients’ out-of-pocket costs continue to rise while – between 2012 and 2022 – the average net price of our insulins declined by 58%.
Sanofi believes that no one should struggle to pay for their insulin, regardless of their insurance status or income level, which is why we have a suite of innovative and patient-centric savings programs to help people reduce their prescription medicine costs.Sanofi
The lawsuit was announced at 9:30 a.m. at Prescriptions to Geaux in downtown Baton Rouge.
Watch the full news conference below:
Read the full lawsuit below: