A New Jersey court has thrown out two patient lawsuits filed against Medco Health Solutions, saying that the pharmacy benefits manager did not supply generic drugs after patients had paid for brand-name medications, Medco says.
An aide to New Jersey Superior Court Judge Jonathan Harris in Hackensack confirmed the ruling.
According to a Medco statement, a New Jersey resident and a Florida resident sued the Franklin Lakes, N.J.-based PBM under a state consumer fraud statute, claiming Medco charged them the wrong co-payments. The individuals, both of them Medco customers, had sought class action status for their suits.
Medco says the patients had ordered tamoxifen citrate, an estrogen blocker manufactured by patent-holder AstraZeneca and given the brand name Nolvadex but also marketed by Barr Labortatories under license from AstraZeneca. Barr sold the drug as Tamoxifen Citrate, creating a "potentially confusing situation," according to a Medco statement, "which led some to believe Barr's product was an FDA-approved generic equivalent."
Medco supplied the patients with the Barr-marketed drug and charged patients in tiered plans the higher co-payments required for brand-name products.
"In dismissing the cases, the court agreed with Medco Health's argument that it was clear that both plaintiffs were correctly charged the 'brand' co-payment under the co-payment provisions and definitions of their benefit plans," the Medco statement says.
The AstraZeneca patent on tamoxifen citrate expired this year, and the FDA subsequently approved generic forms. Medco says it since has added generic tamoxifen to its formularies.