Home
Subscribe (free)
About NaturalNews
Contact Us
Write for NaturalNews
Media Info
Advertising Info
Drug racket

U.S. drug companies defrauded Medicare with price fixing scheme, rules judge

Thursday, March 13, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: drug racket, Big Pharma, health news


Most Viewed Articles
http://www.naturalnews.com/022835_drug_racket_Big_Pharma.html
Delicious
diaspora
Print
Email
Share

(NewsTarget) A federal judge has ruled that three pharmaceutical companies artificially marked up their prices in order to defraud Medicare and encourage doctors to prescribe their drugs over those of competitors.

The decision came in a class-action lawsuit against AstraZeneca, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson and Warwick Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Schering-Plough Corp. U.S. District Judge Patti Saris ruled against AstraZeneca, Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Warwick, while clearing Johnson & Johnson of "egregious misconduct."

However, she described even Johnson & Johnson's actions as "troubling."

Saris agreed with the plaintiffs' complaint that the drug companies deliberately inflated their average wholesale prices in 2003, when those prices were still used to determine Medicare reimbursements. This created a gap between the prices that Medicare was paying and the (lower) prices charged to doctors and pharmacies. This meant that doctors would actually be reimbursed more than they had paid for the drugs, creating a profit incentive for doctors to prescribe certain products.

The judge ruled that AstraZeneca had overcharged for its prostate cancer drug Zoladex and ordered the company to pay nearly $4.5 million to one of the two groups of plaintiffs. Likewise, she found that Bristol-Meyers Squibb had overcharged for the cancer drugs Blenoxane, Cytoxan, Rubex, Taxol and Vepesid, and ordered the company to pay $183,454. She said that she needed more information to set damages amounts for the other group of plaintiffs.

While Saris did not decide on the damages the company must pay, she ruled that Warrick had overcharged for the generic asthma medication albuterol sulfate (the same medicine sold by GlaxoSmithKline under the brand name Ventolin).

One of the plaintiffs' lawyers, Steve Berman, said that his clients were very happy with the ruling.

"We are also grateful that she found [that] the biggest victims were the patients who had to pay these outrageous prices out of pocket as a result of the defendants' wrongful conduct," he said.

Join the Health Ranger's FREE email newsletter
Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time. | Learn more...

comments powered by Disqus


Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

The War on Independent Media Has Begun

A coordinated censorship attack is being waged against the entire independent media by Google, YouTube and Facebook. After we were banned by Google for nearly a week, now Facebook is deliberately blocking the sharing of our stories to further censor our important reporting for human freedom and medical choice. Soon, the only way we will be able to reach you is via email, and Google is sometimes blocking our email delivery to gmail users.

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our email announcement list (but don't use gmail). Your privacy is protected and you can unsubscribe at any time. If you don't join our email list, you may never see our valuable content again via Facebook, Google or YouTube. CENSORSHIP has now reached EXTREME levels across the 'net. The truth is being suffocated. Subscribe now if you want to escape the delusional bubble of false reality being pushed by Google and Facebook.

Once you click subscribe, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free subscription.