Diabetes drugmakers under federal scrutiny over potential price setting

On Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) called on federal antitrust regulators to investigate the pricing practices of Sanofi, Eli Lilly, Merck and Novo Nordisk, alleging the drugmakers all intentionally set high prices for insulin and other diabetes medications, reported Reuters.

In the letter, Sen. Sanders and Rep. Cummings questioned rising insulin prices and included a chart showing many of the drugmakers' price hikes occurred at the same time, according to the report. They also pointed out the original patent for insulin expired 75 years ago, suggesting insulin prices should remain fairly stable due to generic competition.

Spokespeople from Sanofi and Novo Nordisk told Reuters they set drug prices independently from other companies. Eli Lilly strongly disagreed with the letter's allegations and pointed to a highly competitive insulin market as the source of price spikes. A Merck representative said the company does not make insulin, although it does produce other diabetes treatments, said Reuters.

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