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Sanofi, Lilly & Novo accused of pricing collusion

Published on 04/11/16 at 10:21am

Bernie Sanders has continued his assault on pharma pricing after calling out Eli Lilly earlier this week by implicating Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi in a price collusion scandal, calling for a formal investigation from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

According to Sanders and representative Elijah Cummings, a pattern can be observed over the years whereby prices set by the trio have been hiked in unison, implying that the firms consciously co-ordinated their price increases. 13 instances have been highlighted where Novo and Sanofi hiked the price of their insulin medications in tandem since 2009, rising from $231 to $736 a year per patient.

“The original insulin patent expired 75 years ago. Instead of falling prices, as one might expect after decades of competition, three drug makers who make different versions of insulin have continuously raised prices on this life-saving medication,” lawmakers investigating the case stated. “In numerous instances, price increases have reportedly mirrored one another precisely.”

The implicated firms have strongly denied the claims, stating that their actions have been perfectly legal and that the price rises are nothing more than representative of a highly competitive market and reimbursement plans which put “an unfair burden on people with diabetes.”

The Justice Department is currently conducting an investigation, issuing subpoenas to companies including Mylan, Teva and Endo. A number of Indian pharma companies have also been targeted for investigation.

Price hiking in the US is a hot topic at the moment, reigniting with Mylan’s EpiPen scandal earlier this year. Read all about the crisis in our November feature.

Matt Fellows

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