BY OUR PHARMA CORRESPONDENT
Companies sued over pricing
fraud in California
* Abbott Laboratories of North Chicago, Illinois
* Amgen of Thousand Oaks, California
* Armour Pharmaceutical of Collegeville, Pennsylvania
* Aventis Behring of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
* Aventis Pharmaceuticals of Bridgewater, New Jersey
* Baxter Healthcare of Deerfield, Illinois
* Bedford Laboratories of Bedford, Ohio
* Ben Venue Laboratories of Bedford, Ohio
* B Braun Medical of Allentown, Pennsylvania
* B Braun of America of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
* Boehringer Ingelheim of Ingelheim, Germany
* Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals of Ridgefield, Connecticut
* Bristol-Myers Squibb also known as Bristol-Myers Oncology
Division / HIV Products of New York, New York
* CH Boehringer Sohn Grundstucksverwaltung of
* Dey, Inc. of Napa, California
* Dey, LP of Napa, California
* EMD of Durham, North Carolina
* Geneva Pharmaceuticals of Broomfield, California
* Gensia of Irvine, California
* Gensia Sicor of Irvine, California
* GlaxoSmithKline of Middlesex, United Kingdom
* Glaxo Wellcome of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
* Hoechst Marion Roussel of Kansas City, Kansas
* Immunex of Seattle, Washington
* Lipha of Saint Romain, France
* McGraw of Irvine, California
* Merck KGaA of Kansas City, Missouri
* Mylan Laboratories of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
* Mylan Pharmaceuticals of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
* Novartis of New York, New York
* Pharma Investment of Burlington, Canada
* Roxane Laboratories of Omaha, Nebraska
* Sandoz of Princeton, New Jersey
* Sicor of Irvine, California
* Schering-Plough of Kenilworth, New Jersey
* SmithKline Beecham of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
* Teva Pharmaceutical Industries of Petach
* Warrick Pharmaceuticals of Springfield, New Jersey
· ZLB Behring of King of Prussa, Pennsylvania
13 September,2005: The California Attorney General has filed lawsuits against 39 pharmaceutical companies for allegedly defrauding the state through a drug pricing. The suit alleges that the drug makers manipulated the prices, resulting in inflated costs to the state's US$34 billion Medi-Cal programme, which provides for the poor, elderly and disabled in California.
The companies involved include leading players in the state including GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Boehringer Ingelheim as well as the generic firms Sandoz, Mylan Laboratories and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.
The Attorney General's Office explained that in California, healthcare providers are reimbursed for drugs dispensed to Medi-Cal patients, with the reimbursement rates being based on pricing data supplied by the drug manufacturers.
The Attorney General's actions were prompted by a whistleblower lawsuit filed in California by Ven-A-Care, a small pharmacy which alleged the manufacturers had provided false and misleading drug pricing information.
An investigation by the Attorney General's Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse into the allegations revealed what the Attorney General described as extensive pricing manipulation, which resulted in lawsuits being filed against two companies in 2003. The two firms were Abbott Laboratories and Wyeth, and the case was removed from the Los Angeles County Superior Court and consolidated in the Federal District Court in Boston, Massachusetts.
The new lawsuits added two those have emerged as a result of additional evidence gathered through ongoing investigations.
The lawsuit alleges the defendants tried to maximise profits by engaging in insidious sales schemes to increase market share. Specifically, the defendants provided false and misleading information with full knowledge the state would rely on the data in setting the reimbursement amounts for pharmaceuticals covered by Medi-Cal.
The drug makers were then able to create financial incentives for drug dispensers to utilise their products, using the funds gathered through the alleged defrauding of the state. The Attorney General noted the lawsuit was filed in the US District Court in Boston, Massachusetts, and alleges a violation of California's False Claims Act, which provides up to treble damages and penalties of up to US$10,000 per false claim.
BY OUR PHARMA CORRESPONDENT