Kansas Attorney General Steve Six sued 13 drugmakers today, alleging they unlawfully inflated drug costs paid by taxpayers through the state's Medicaid program. The suit claims the drugmakers deliberately misreported pricing info in order to hike reimbursement.
"We believe Kansas has lost millions of dollars as a result of these drug companies' fraudulent pricing schemes," Six says in a statement. "We allege that the drug manufacturers deliberately inflated the reported average wholesale prices and other wholesale prices for their drugs in order to increase market share for their products. This is a disturbing abuse of the Medicaid reimbursement system."
"Because of the drug companies' inaccurate pricing, the Kansas's Medicaid program has spent millions of dollars more for prescription drugs than it should have," Six says. "The companies' false price reporting is all the more offensive because it undercuts Medicaid, the publicly-funded health program created to assist our state's most vulnerable citizens."
The drugmakers (click on a name to see a lawsuit): Abbott Labs; Boehringer-Ingelheim; Dey; Eisai; Forest Labs; Glaxo; Johnson & Johnson; Mylan Labs; Purdue Pharma; Schering-Plough; Takeda Pharmaceutical; TAP Pharmaceutical; Wyeth.
According to the lawsuit, the Medicaid program spent more $160 million on meds last year. And the suit alleges the price for a drug paid by the state, based on a fraudulently-reported Average Wholesale Price and other price indicators, often bears no relationship to the true price and can exceed 100 percent to 200 percent above the actual price.
One example cited - Dey reported an AWP of $44.10 for Ipratropium Bromide, yet the AG claims the drugmaker sold the same drug to retail pharmacists for $8.35 - a 355 percent difference. And Glaxo reported an AWP of $128.24 for Zofran, but charged $22.61- a 450 difference.
Among the law firms representing the state is Beasley Allen, which is also representing Alabama in similar lawsuits against various drugmakers, including AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Glaxo and Novartis. Several states have filed similar suits.