Baron & Budd Represents the City of Philadelphia in Price Fixing Lawsuits Against Insulin Manufacturers

March 25, 2024  |  Class Actions, Insulin Pricing

This week, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced that the DA’s office, with outside co-counsel, filed a lawsuit against nearly 20 pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBM’s) for colluding to inflate the consumer cost of insulin despite it having become cheaper than ever to produce. Baron & Budd shareholders Russell Budd and Mark Pifko serve as lead outside co-counsel in this case. Gregory Heller from Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP and the firms of Levin, Papantonio, Rafferty, Proctor, Buchanan, O’Brien, Barr & Mougey, P.A., Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton LLP, and Seeger Weiss, LLP are outside co-counsel with Baron & Budd.

“We are pleased to partner with the Philadelphia District Attorney on this important litigation that aims to tackle one of the most important health issues of the day: prescription drug pricing,” said Pifko. “Public-private partnerships like the one between the District Attorney’s Office and outside counsel in this case help make it possible to hold the country’s largest corporations accountable for alleged wrongdoing. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and doing the hard work that will be necessary to bring justice to the people of the City of Philadelphia.”

Details of the Lawsuit

The lawsuit accused drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) of violating the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (PUTPCPL). According to the lawsuit, PBM defendants colluded with manufacturers to dictate the supply and fix the price of insulin drugs for most of the U.S. market.

According to the allegations in the lawsuit, such collusion means that, even though it costs as little as $2 per vial to produce insulin, the price for patients now ranges from $300 to $700 per vial – up drastically from the $20-per-vial price of the 1990’s. In a state such as Pennsylvania, with more than 1.1 million people who have diabetes – 11% of the adult population – astronomically high prices can have catastrophic effects on public health. Tragic stories of diabetics who lost their lives because they couldn’t afford a vial of insulin, as one Philadelphia public educator detailed at the DA press conference, have become all too common. In fact, one 2022 nationwide study found that more than 1.3 million Americans with diabetes did not take their full prescribed daily doses of insulin because of the cost.

Past Federal Intervention

The Philadelphia DA’s lawsuit comes following federal intervention into pharmaceutical price fixing that left those with diabetes still wanting. That intervention included a 2021 Senate Finance Committee probe of collusion among pharmaceutical companies and PBM’s, as well as executive actions by the Biden Administration to cap the cost of insulin for Medicare. But due to a lack of tougher federal regulations and inconsistent policies among states, pharmaceutical companies have easily circumvented these attempts at reigning in their foul play.

“For too long, monopolies have unjustly profited off medicine diabetic Philadelphians need to stay alive. It is unacceptable that patients pay up to $700 for insulin that costs as little as $2 to manufacture,” said 3rd District City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier. “I am grateful District Attorney Krasner recognizes that the City of Philadelphia cannot sit on the sidelines as Big Pharma artificially inflates the cost of insulin to line their pockets, at our expense. We’ll see you in court.”

About Us

With more than 40 years of experience, Baron & Budd has the expertise and resources to handle complex litigation throughout the United States. As a law firm that takes pride in remaining at the forefront of litigation, Baron & Budd has spearheaded many significant cases for hundreds of public entities and tens of thousands of individuals. Since the firm was founded in 1977, Baron & Budd has achieved substantial national acclaim for its work on cutting-edge litigation, trying hundreds of cases to verdict and settling tens of thousands of cases in areas of litigation as diverse and significant as dangerous and highly addictive pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices, asbestos and mesothelioma, wildfires, environmental contamination, fraudulent banking practices, e-cigarettes, motor vehicles, federal whistleblower cases, and other consumer fraud issues.

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