Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The Associated Press reports on some potentially big trouble for Wyeth pharmaceuticals. The story states,
The Justice Department on Monday accused Wyeth, one of the nation's biggest drugmakers, of cheating Medicaid programs out of hundreds of millions of dollars by overcharging for a stomach acid drug. The Justice Department and more than a dozen states have joined in two whistleblower lawsuits against the Madison, N.J.-based drug company filed in federal court in Massachusetts.
The government is seeking financial penalties against the company of up to three times the amount lost by Medicaid. And if a settlement is reached, the two whistleblowers who filed the original suits likely would be entitled to some share of the sum. The court papers claim that between 2000 and 2006, Wyeth offered steep discounts to thousands of hospitals for two versions of Protonix, a drug that suppresses stomach acid. By law, manufacturers of brand-name drugs are required to offer the same rebates to state Medicaid programs that they provide to other customers. . . .
Wyeth defended its pricing plan. "The company believes that its pricing calculations were correct and intends to defend itself vigorously in these actions," said Doug Petkus, aspokesman. . . .
The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog has more here.