UnitedHealth, CVS, Express Scripts, Prime must face lawsuit over EpiPen prices

Four pharmacy benefit managers — UnitedHealth's OptumRx, CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and Prime Therapeutics — must face a lawsuit over their roles in the skyrocketing price of EpiPen, a federal judge ruled Oct. 26, according to Bloomberg.

The nation's four largest PBMs filed a motion to dismiss a proposed class action by participants in employee health insurance plans. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson in St. Paul, Minn. denied the motion, ruling the plaintiffs established sufficient facts to bring the lawsuit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

The lawsuit claims the four PBMs breached their duties as administrators of employee health insurance plans' drug benefits by causing the maker of EpiPen, Mylan, to raise the price of the lifesaving allergy medication. The lawsuit contends that the PBMs chased profits at the expense of insured patients and failed to negotiate to bring the cost of the EpiPen down.

The skyrocketing price of EpiPen has come under scrutiny in recent years. Reports show it has jumped more than 450 percent since 2004.

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