The Mississippi attorney general last week filed a lawsuit accusing several drug makers and pharmacy benefit managers of conspiring to set prices for insulin, the life-savings diabetes treatment that has become a poster child for the high cost of prescription medicines.
The lawsuit alleged that the manufacturers benefited from a scheme in which prices were “artificially” inflated to win placement on formularies, the list of medicines for which insurance is provided. And pharmacy benefit managers profited by receiving “secret” rebates from the manufacturers and also through their own mail-order pharmacy sales. In the alleged scheme, the Manufacturer Defendants artificially and willingly raise their reported prices, and then deceptively refund a significant portion of that price back to PBMs through things called rebates, discounts, credits, and administration fees.
They [PBMs] also switch medications within their formularies to suit their pricing scheme to the detriment of diabetics relying on those drugs the lawsuit alleges. This practice has resulted in record profits for Defendants at the expense of diabetics and payors.