Perry County diabetes center talks insulin pricing

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Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 4:32 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a lawsuit against Pharmacy Benefit Managers, including CVS Caremark, Optum Rx, and Express Scripts for what has been reported as an insulin pricing scheme.

PBMs are the contact between insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers but are not in charge of the direct distribution of medicines.

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Head Pharmacist at Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky, Wes Huff, said that this lawsuit is just one step in helping healthcare workers be able to help their patients.

“Number one PBMs need to be regulated, they need to be overseen and regulated,” said Head Pharmacist, Dr. Wes Huff “They try to blame these prices on the drug companies when in fact you know it’s them pushing those costs onto the patients.”

For the almost 450,000 Kentuckians that have diabetes, especially those with type one diabetes, insulin is essential for their bodies to regulate blood sugar.

“Yes I mean--you know-- insulin is the only treatment really that we have it’s the cornerstone for type one diabetics,” said Dr. John Jones, Medical Director at the Mary E. Martin Diabetes Center for Excellence. “They can’t really take any oral medications or any pills. They rely solely on insulin for their diabetes care.”

The healthcare professionals at Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky are hopeful that this lawsuit will make insulin more affordable to patients in the long run.

“I think the lawsuit, in the long run, will help with the cost of insulin because you’re going to hold these people to account,” said Dr. Jones. “I think in the short term it’s not going to change anything, they’re still doing what they’re doing and not a lot will change in the short order of things.”