National Roundup

Eli Lilly settles insulin price-gouging lawsuit

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota has reached a settlement with Eli Lilly and Co. in a price gouging lawsuit against the country’s three biggest insulin manufacturers that guarantees that Minnesotans can now buy Lilly-produced insulin for only $35 a month for the next five years, Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Wednesday.

The settlement is likely to benefit as many as 500,000 residents whether they have insurance or not, and it covers all Lilly brand-name insulin products, Ellison said at a news conference. Litigation remains pending against two other manufacturers named in the 2018 lawsuit, Sanofi-Aventis and Novo Nordisk.

The American Diabetes Association says more than 8 million Americans use insulin, which the body needs to convert food into energy. People who have diabetes don’t produce enough insulin.

While Lilly and other drug manufacturers have taken steps to help diabetics cover the costs of their insulin, and Minnesota adopted an emergency safety net program for diabetics in 2020, Ellison said the settlement provides better guarantees for patients that their out-of-pocket insulin costs won’t exceed $35 a month, beginning immediately.

New York last year reached a similar settlement with the big three insulin makers, Ellison said. And the attorneys general of California, Illinois, Arizona and Utah, and some local governments, have filed similar lawsuits in the last year, his office said.
President Joe Biden’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act capped out-of-pocket costs of insulin to people on Medicare to $35 a month, but only for seniors.

Lilly said in a statement that the settlement ensures that Minnesotans will have affordable access to its insulins, and that it builds on steps the company has already taken, including price cuts and caps announced last March, that have brought the average monthly out-of-pocket cost for Lilly insulin down to $20.48.

Novo Nordisk last year also announced plans for insulin price cuts starting this year.

Minnesota’s emergency program is named for Alec Smith, who died from diabetic complications in 2017 at the age of 26 after rationing his insulin to make it last longer.

His mother, Nicole Smith-Holt, said at the news conference that there are now multiple ways for diabetics in Minnesota to access affordable insulin, “and it’s going to save so many lives.”

Man sentenced to 180 days in jail for drugging wife’s drinks to induce abortion

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas man who drugged his wife’s drinks in an attempt to induce an abortion was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years on probation.

Mason Herring, a 39-year-old Houston attorney, pleaded guilty Wednesday to injury to a child and assault of a pregnant person. He had initially been charged with felony assault to induce abortion.

Catherine Herring, who has filed for divorce, told the court the jail sentence was not long enough. She said their 1-year-old daughter, their third child, was born about 10 weeks premature, has developmental delays and attends therapy eight times a week.

“I do not believe that 180 days is justice for attempting to kill your child seven separate times,” Catherine Herring said.

Catherine Herring told authorities her husband in March 2022 began lecturing her on hydration and offering water. She said she became severely ill after drinking from the first cup that appeared cloudy, which her husband explained was perhaps the result of the cup or water pipes being dirty.

Catherine Herring became suspicious and began refusing multiple other drinks her husband offered. She later found in the trash packaging for a drug that contains misoprostol, a medicine used to induce abortion.

She also gave police videos from hidden cameras she installed at her home where her husband was no longer living. One of them showed him mixing a substance in one of her drinks, Catherine Herring said.

Mason Herring’s attorney, Dan Codgell, called the plea deal and sentence reasonable.

“It’s a sad situation and Mason has accepted his responsibility,” Cogdell said.

Man is found guilty in Jan. 6 insurrection

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana appliance store owner and supporter of former President Donald Trump was convicted Wednesday for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol that interrupted certifying the 2020 Electoral College vote.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montana announced the verdict.

Henry Phillip Muntzer of Dillon was arrested based on social media posts and videos taken inside the Capitol, according to court records.

Muntzer, 55, was found guilty of obstructing an official proceeding and civil disorder, both felonies, following a bench trial before U.S. District Court Judge Jia M. Cobb. Muntzer was also found guilty of four misdemeanor charges. Sentencing is set for June 20.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Muntzer and a group of friends traveled to Washington to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally. After Trump’s speech at the Ellipse, Muntzer joined the crowd walking to the Capitol, where he spent about 38 minutes, including time on the Senate floor. He was among the last people to leave, according to court records.

Muntzer was involved in physical confrontations with law enforcement officers in the Senate chamber and in the Capitol Rotunda, prosecutors said.

Muntzer said he was unaware that the Electoral College certification was going on that day and that in any case the Senate and House had both recessed by the time he entered the building. He argues he therefore didn’t interfere with anything.

Muntzer said Wednesday that he was not allowed to present all the evidence he was aware of, including some classified documents, which he said gives him grounds to appeal.

In Dillon, Muntzer is known for a pro-QAnon mural on the building that houses his appliance store, according to the Dillon Tribune. Many QAnon followers believe in baseless conspiracy theories.