Pharmaceutical companies under scrutiny for price hikes on diabetes medication

Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly and Sanofi are currently defendants against lawsuits in the US for pricing hikes.

Novo Nordisk has denied allegations that they manoeuvred to increase the net prices on insulin. The allegations brought on by the United States (U.S.) congressional investigative committee stated that the pharmaceutical giant was increasing insulin prices in tandem with their competitors. The House Oversight Committee released the report in December 2021, alleging that Novo Nordisk increased prices between 2001 and 2019 at the detriment of diabetes patients. The reported referred to Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly and Sanofi, which own almost 90% of the insulin market in the U.S. The report noted that the companies had "intentionally and strategically raised their prices in lockstep." Lars Jorgensen, Chief Executive of Novo Nordisk stated, "We have nothing to hide, we feel we have done business in the right way in the U.S."

Jorgensen added, "Our net pricing is actually declining quite significantly. For quite some years pricing has been going down on insulin, not going up." However, the report included graphs that illustrated how Novo raised the price on Novolog, their rapid-acting insulin by 628% since 2001 by increasing their prices 28 times. The price hikes occurred in tandem with Eli Lilly’s Humalog insulin. The same occurred with Novo’s Levemir long-acting insulin which was hiked 18 times by a total of 360% in the years between 2006 and 2019. The price hike was in unison with Sanofi’s price hike on Lantus. Novo is currently facing eight lawsuits in the US related to the price hikes while Eli Lilly and Sanofi are also defendants in the same cases.