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Attorney general announces lawsuit against seven companies over insulin prices

Todd Rokita stands in the crowd at the 2022 State of the State address.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
A vial of insulin can cost pharmaceutical companies just a few dollars to produce, but the cost to patients can be between $300 and $700, according to Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita.

A new lawsuit alleges seven companies conspired to raise insulin prices by 1,000 percent in the last decade. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is suing pharmacy benefits managers and pharmaceutical companies that he said are "dishonest" and harm patients.

A vial of insulin can cost pharmaceutical companies just a few dollars to produce, but the cost to patients can be between $300 and $700, according to Rokita. The pricing of insulin has led some patients to ration their medication or not take it at all.

Rokita announced that the suit includes Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, CaremarkPCS Health, Caremark, Express Scripts, CVS Health Corporation and Optum Rx. He said these companies made "illegal" profits off of people in need of medications like insulin.

“We cannot find any reasonable way that insulin should cost this much in this day and age after 100 years of profit,” Rokita said.

READ MORE: Insulin's high cost leads to lethal rationing

Rokita also said if any money came as a result of the lawsuit, it’s unlikely that it would be divided among affected patients.

“The main goal here, though, is to change behavior and keep these prices from escalating,” Rokita said. “That might actually force them to be more reflective of the actual cost, going forward.”

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Rokita said there will be lots of “legal maneuvering” ahead, including possible attempts to move the case to federal court or group it with similar lawsuits filed by at least nine other states.

Other lawsuits, including some filed by cities, have included Eli Lilly. However, the lawsuit filed by Rokita does not.

“I'll simply say at this time that Eli Lilly is cooperating with us," he said. "And so they have not been named in the lawsuit as of yet.”

The lawsuit includes a footnote Rokita pointed to during the press conference Tuesday. It said because Lilly is cooperating with the state and "has been proactive in reducing the cost of insulin" the company was left out of the complaint at this time.

He said by suing the companies, his office is enforcing the state’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Practices Act and antitrust laws.

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story included the six companies listed by Attorney General Todd Rokita in his press conference. The publicly released lawsuit listed seven. For the purpose of clarity, it the number of companies in the lawsuit has been updated to seven.

This story has been updated.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at

Abigail Ruhman covers statewide health issues. Previously, they were a reporter for KBIA, the public radio station in Columbia, Missouri. Ruhman graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.