Wednesday afternoon Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced that his office has recovered another $38 million from eight pharmaceutical companies he sued for unlawful inflation of drug costs paid by Louisiana taxpayers through the Medicaid program. That brings the amount he has recovered since taking office in 2008 to more than $176 million.
|Attorney General Buddy Caldwell|
The money could not come at a better time for the state's Medicaid program, which has been cut to the bone in recent weeks. All of the proceeds collected through these settlements will go back into the program to assist those who receive benefits.
“I will, as attorney general, continue to aggressively pursue pharmaceutical companies who defraud our Medicaid program,” Caldwell said in Wednesday’s announcement. “We are sending a message to drug companies that their fraud will not be tolerated in Louisiana.”
The eight companies will pay Louisiana a combined total of $38.04 million for misreporting drug price information in order to improperly increase reimbursements paid by Louisiana’s Medicaid program, according to the AG’s office. The Medicaid reimbursements are based on what is called Average Wholesale Prices or AWPs.
Caldwell said these latest AWP settlements result from his 2010 lawsuit against 109 drug manufacturers in the case of State of Louisiana v. Abbott Laboratories, and the related State of Louisiana v. McKesson Corporation case filed last year. The suit accuses the defendants of committing fraud and violating the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act and Louisiana’s Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law. So far, 13 defendant companies and their subsidiaries have settled with the state for a combined total of $65.2 million in AWP-related recoveries.
Judge Wilson Fields of the 19th Judicial District Court has scheduled the first trial against the remaining defendants to begin in August 2013.
The companies agreeing to the $38 million settlement were:
Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. and Barr Pharmaceutical, Inc. - $20 million
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and MedImmune - $10 million
Amgen Inc. - 2.5 million
Fougera Pharmaceuticals Inc. (formerly Nycomed US) - $ 2 million
Baxter International Inc. and Baxter Healthcare Corporation - $1.2 million
Warner Chilcott Corporation - $1.05 million
Wockhardt USA LLC and Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals - $1 million
Cypress Pharmaceutical Inc. - $235,000