Bipartisan Senate Investigation of Insulin Prices in $19 Billion Insulin Market

Antitrust lawyer - insulin pricing - senate investigation

U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ranking Member Ron Wyden of Oregon launched a bipartisan investigation two years ago into insulin prices.  The investigation was part of the Senate Finance Committee’s broader effort to examine drug pricing and rising costs for purchasers and taxpayers. 

The Senate Finance Committee’s Investigation

The Committee first sent letters to leading insulin manufacturers – Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk requesting information related to the process by which they price their insulin products.  Eli Lilly, for example, had increased the price of its insulin, Humalog, from $35 to $234 between 2001 and 2015 – a 585% increase, despite the fact that the hormone used to treat diabetes has been on the market for nearly 100 years.  With more than 30 million Americans suffering from diabetes, annual Medicare spending on insulin has increased by billions of dollars over the last 10 years.  Between 2010 and 2018, Medicare spent $78.4 billion on insulin – the majority of which was spent on Eli Lilly’s Humalog ($12.3 billion), Novo Nordisk’s Levemir ($11 billion) and Novolog ($16.5 billion), and Sanofi’s Lantus ($27.4 billion). 

The Findings of the Finance Committee’s Investigation

On January 14, 2021, the Senate Finance Committee issued a bipartisan staff report based on the findings of its two-year probe.  The report details how manufacturers aggressively raised the list prices of their insulin products for decades, despite absence of significant advances in the efficacy of the drugs.

Information and documents collected during the investigation showed pharmaceutical manufacturers have complete control over setting the list price for their products, and that increases were often closely timed with price changes made by competitors.

Pharmaceutical Antitrust Lawyers

Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi-Aventis face antitrust suits accusing them of scheming to drive up insulin prices using artificially-inflated benchmark prices.    

Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky has successfully represented insurance companies and other institutional plaintiffs in recovering for drug pricing schemes.  Schedule an appointment with our legal team to learn more. Schneider Wallace has offices in California, Texas, North Carolina and Puerto Rico and litigates in jurisdictions throughout the country in state and federal administrative agencies and courts.