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PHARMA - FLORIDA DRUG LAWSUIT

Florida sues Mylan, Teva and Watson

 

BY OUR PHARMA CORRESPONDENT

13th August, 2005:Florida's Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against three generic pharmaceutical manufacturers Mylan, Teva and Watson for allegedly defrauding Florida's Medicaid programme in a scheme that costs Florida's taxpayers US$25 million.

The lawsuit alleges the three wrongfully inflated prices such as to allow pharmacies to receive excessive reimbursements for filing prescriptions for Medicaid patients who bought generic drugs for depression, schizophrenia, seizures, angina and other illnesses.

The lawsuit was brought about after an investigation by the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The three companies include their various parent and subsidiary companies as well. The investigation found the three companies used the potential reimbursement windfalls as a marketing tool, telling pharmacies that they could make more money in Medicaid reimbursements if they sold the three firms' drugs rather than those of competitors.

Prompted by a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by a Key West pharmacy, the investigation found the fraudulent practices began as early as 1994, and allegedly resulted in hundreds of thousands of false claims. The lawsuit alleges violations of the Florida False Claims Act and common law fraud. The False Claims Act allows triple damages.

This was the third such case brought against drug manufacturers for defrauding Medicaid and Florida taxpayers. The other two cases were against three manufacturers, Dey, Warrick Pharmaceuticals and Roxane Laboratories, in July 2003, and against an additional three companies, Sandoz, IVAX Pharmaceuticals and Purepac Pharmaceuticals, in April 2005, the Attorney General said.

BY OUR PHARMA CORRESPONDENT

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