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Rochester Woman on Alleged Drug Price Fixing: "These Companies will have People's Deaths on their Hands"

May 13, 2019 07:45 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- In the U.S., a handful of generic drug manufacturers are accused of cheating vulnerable people out of their money.

If the price-gouging is proven to be true, one Rochester woman says those companies will "have people's deaths on their hands".

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Tami Timbeross was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 22 years old. “August 22nd, 1995,” she said, “I’ll never forget the date.”

Because after that date, Timbeross’ focus in life became surviving; something so many of us take for granted.

“When I was first diagnosed, a vial of insulin would cost me right around $35 to $60 [copay] and now I'm up to $200 [copay] for a one month supply,” said Timbeross. “They [pharmaceutical companies] are trying to make money off of an illness. It’s wrong on so many levels.”

It’s this kind of behavior Attorneys General are trying to stop. Minnesota is joining 42 other states and Puerto Rico in a massive lawsuit. Filed on Friday, it claims some of the nation's largest generic drug manufactures conspired to inflate and manipulate prices for more than 100 drugs.

These medications treat things like cancer, epilepsy, HIV and diabetes to name a few. In some cases, prices were reportedly increased by more than a 1,000%.

Investigators say they obtained emails, text messages and phone records from 2013 to 2015 implicating 20 firms and 15 individual senior executives.

On Monday, Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison, condemned what he is calling "illegal behavior rooted in greed".

“Markets need to have competition to work properly,” said Ellison. “If they do, prices go down, innovation goes up ... wages go up. But if they don't, the opposite happens.”

The lawsuit is looking to make these drug companies accountable; asking they not only stop the alleged price setting but also pay states and even patients back for what Attorneys General are calling “illegal profits”.

In Minnesota, the group “Insulin 4 All” says while most diabetics are not on generic insulin, this lawsuit could be the start of a greater stand.

“We need price transparency legislation, we need to see pharmacy benefit managers looked at, we need to see wholesalers looked at, we need to see the pharmaceutical companies looked at and we need an ‘Emergency Insulin Act’,” said Quinn Nystrom, the Minnesota Chapter Leader of Insulin 4 All.

As for Timbeross, she has a message for Big Pharma … “Shame on them,” she said. “Walk a day in our shoes. My world every day revolves around my diabetes. Maybe if they understood that, they could bring these prices down and I could worry in the day about my health and not worry the next day where I am going to come up with the money to pay for my supplies that I need to survive.”

A spokesperson for Teva (one of the pharmaceutical companies named in this lawsuit) says they will fight the allegations, adding "Teva hasn't engaged in any conduct that would lead to civil or criminal liability".

The the generic drugs involved in the alleged price fixing are Adapalene Gel, Amiloride HCL/HCTZ Tablets, Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Chewable Tablets, Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine ER, Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine IR, Azithromycin Oral Suspension, Azithromycin Suspension, Baclofen Tablets, Benazepril HCTZ , Bethanechol Chloride Tablets, Budesonide DR Capsules, Budesonide Inhalation, Bumetanide Tablets, Buspirone Hydrochloride, Cabergoline, Capecitabine, Carbamazepine Chewable Tablets, Carbamazepine Tablets, Cefdinir Capsules, Cefdinir Oral Suspension, Cefprozil Tablets, Celecoxib, Cephalexin Suspension, Cimetidine Tablets, Ciprofloxacin Tablets, Clarithromycin ER Tablets, Clemastine Fumarate Tablets, Clomipramine HCL, Clonidine TTS Patch, Clotrimazole Topical Solution, Cyproheptadine HCL Tablets, Desmopressin Acetate Tablets, Desogestrel/Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets, Dexmethylphenidate (ADHD), Dextroamphetamine Sulfate ER , Diclofenac Tablets, Diclofenac Potassium Tablets, Dicloxacillin Sodium Capsules, Diflunisal Tablets, Diltiazem HCL Tablets, Disopyramide Phosphate Capsules, Doxazosin Mesylate Tablets, Drospirenone / Ethinyl Estradiol (Ocella), Enalapril Maleate Tablets, Entecavir, Epitol Tablets, Estazolam Tablets, Estradiol, Estradiol Tablets, Ethinyl Estradiol/Levonorgestrel, Ethosuximide Capsules, Ethosuximide Oral Solution, Etodolac ER Tablets, Etodolac Tablets, Fenofibrate, Fluconazole Tablets, Fluocinonide Cream, Fluocinonide Emollient Cream, Fluocinonide Gel, Fluocinonide Ointment, Fluoxetine HCL Tablets, Flurbiprofen Tablets, Flutamide Capsules, Fluvastatin Sodium Capsules, Gabapentin Tablets, Glimepiride Tablets, Griseofulvin Suspension, Haloperidol, Hydroxyurea Capsules, Hydroxyzine Pamoate Capsules, Irbesartan, Isoniazid, Ketoconazole Cream, Ketoconazole Tablets, Ketoprofen Capsules, Ketorolac Tromethamine Tablets, Labetalol HCL Tablets, Lamivudine/Zidovudine (generic Combivir), Levothyroxine, Loperamide HCL Capsules, Medroxyprogesterone Tablets, Methotrexate Tablets, Mimvey (Estradiol/Norethindrone Acetate) Tablets, Moexipril HCL Tablets, Moexipril HCL/HCTZ Tablets, Nabumetone Tablets, Nadolol Tablets, Niacin ER Tablets, Nitrofurantoin MAC Capsules, Norethindrone/ Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets (Balziva), Norethindrone Acetate, Nortriptylline Hydrochloride Capsules, Omega-3-Acid Ethyl Esters, Oxaprozin Tablets, Oxybutynin Chloride Tablets, Paricalcitol, Penicillin VK Tablets, Pentoxifylline Tablets, Piroxicam, Pravastatin Sodium Tablets, Prazosin HCL Capsules, Prochlorperazine Tablets, Propranolol HCL Tablets, Raloxifine HCL Tablets, Ranitidine HCL Tablets, Tamoxifen Citrate Tablets, Temozolomide, Tizanidine, Tobramycin, Tolmetin Sodium Capsules, Tolterodine ER, Tolterodine Tartrate, Topiramate Sprinkle Capsules, Trifluoperazine HCL, Valsartan HCTZ, Warfarin Sodium Tablets

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