States taking action against businesses is not as common as individuals doing so when harmed by those organizations. But it happens. Government authorities file lawsuits against businesses that violate the law.
The city of Cleveland initiated a lawsuit on Monday, July 24, 2023, accusing some pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and drug manufacturers of orchestrating a system that inflates the price of insulin.
The lawsuit is specifically against CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and OptumRx. And it has received a positive reception in the state and outside.
States that have joined Ohio
Hawaii has accused some PBMs of using unfair practices to increase insulin prices and limit consumers’ access to medications. In its lawsuit, the state said these practices have been going on since 2014.
In January 2023, the Attorney General of California filed a lawsuit against PBMs and some drugmakers for increasing the price of insulin drugs in recent years. This has considerably affected millions of California residents who suffer from diabetes, especially those in low-income communities. California filed its lawsuit before Ohio, but chances are Ohio’s case has motivated the state further.
In August 2023, the Attorney General of Kentucky filed a lawsuit against three PBMs, CVS Caremark, Optum Rx, and Express Scripts, for conspiring with drug manufacturers to increase insulin prices.
Why are PBMs at the center of these lawsuits?
PBMs were introduced to negotiate drug prices on behalf of payors, employers and individuals receiving medications after pharmaceutical companies were criticized for overpricing medications. This system worked until PBMs grew powerful enough to make decisions that harm Ohio and U.S. residents; the solution became the problem.
The city of Cleveland has raised serious allegations against PBMs and drug manufacturers. This lawsuit can potentially result in a change that will significantly benefit Ohio residents.