La. AG hauls in $25.2M from five drug companies

By Bryan Cohen | Feb 14, 2012



BATON ROUGE, La. (Legal Newsline) � Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced Tuesday that his office has recovered $25.2 million from five pharmaceutical companies as part of agreements resolving allegations of unlawful inflation of drug costs.

Schering-Plough, GlaxoSmithKline, Dey, Boehringer Ingelheim and Actavis agreed to pay the state a combined total of $25.2 million to resolve allegations of misreporting drug price information to increase reimbursements paid by the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program of Louisiana. Medicaid reimbursements are based on average wholesale prices.

"Fraudulent over-pricing and marketing of prescription drugs caused Louisiana taxpayers and the Medicaid program to grossly over-pay for those prescriptions," Caldwell said. "Pharmaceutical companies who do this will be held accountable."

The five recent recoveries came as a result of a 2010 lawsuit filed by Caldwell against 109 drug manufacturers in the case of State of Louisiana v. Abbott Laboratories and a related 2011 case, State of Louisiana v. McKesson Corporation. The lawsuit accused the defendants of committing fraud and violating the Consumer Protection Act, the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act and Louisiana's Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law.

Several of the remaining defendants are likely to go to trial later this year in the 19th Judicial District Court.

"These settlement funds are just the tip of the iceberg," Caldwell said. "We will continue to fight to recover our taxpayer dollars until every cent is accounted for."

Caldwell said he has made it a priority of his administration to pursue the recovery of Medicaid program dollars that were allocated improperly. In the last four years, Caldwell's office has recovered $138 million in total for the Medicaid program.

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