The Connecticut attorney generals office has filed a lawsuit accusing pharmaceutical distributor McKesson Corp., San Francisco, of illegally inflating the average wholesale price of more than 400 brand-name drugs, resulting in millions of dollars in unnecessary costs to consumers and state-funded healthcare programs, according to a news release.
McKesson officials declined to answer questions about the charges, but in a company statement said the claims appear to be based on allegations made in a 2005 class-action suit also filed in Boston. We believe the allegations lack merit and intend to vigorously defend ourselves, said McKesson officials in the statement.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston on Wednesday, alleges that McKesson conspired with drug-price publisher First DataBank to arbitrarily raise average wholesale pricesthe amounts pharmacies and providers charge insurance companies and consumers for dispensing a drugfrom 20% to 25% on a variety of drugs, while maintaining wholesale acquisition coststhe prices pharmacies and providers pay distributors to purchase particular drugsat current levels. The net effect, according to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, was to increase reimbursement profit margins for providers and pharmacies, which ultimately increased the use of McKesson as a distributor by those entities.
Millions of dollars are due to taxpayers and consumers who paid inflated drug costs as a result of McKessons illegal and deceptive practices, Blumenthal said in a news release.
Brand-name prescriptions for the treatment of allergies, arthritis, cholesterol, acid reflux and anxiety are among the drugs named in the lawsuit. The suit accuses McKesson of violating state consumer-protection laws and the federal racketeering act. First Databank has not been named in the lawsuit. -- by Shawn Rhea