HARRISBURG – Attorney General Tom Corbett announced that Bristol-Myers Squibb has been ordered to pay $27.6 million to Pennsylvania agencies that were allegedly overcharged for prescription drugs by the New York-based company as part of a price manipulation scheme involving multiple pharmaceutical firms.
Corbett said the ruling follows a September 2010 trial in Commonwealth Court in which Judge Robert E. Simpson determined that Bristol-Myers Squibb had violated Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law by inflating the wholesale prices of various prescription drugs that were purchased or reimbursed by various state medical programs, including Medicaid and the “PACE” prescription drug program for senior citizens.
“These cases are focused on returning millions of dollars to state programs that help low-income and older residents get the medications they need to stay healthy,” Corbett said. “To date, we have recovered nearly $49 million from companies accused of overcharging these taxpayer-funded programs by unfairly manipulating prescription drug prices.”
Corbett explained that in addition to the $27.6 million award involving Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Attorney General’s Office has also reached settlements with a number of other pharmaceutical companies accused of similar price activity, including a $10 million agreement with Astra Zeneca, of Wayne Pa.; $6.95 million from Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories; $1.8 million from GlaxoSmithKline, of Philadelphia; and a $13 million collective settlement with Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., Baxter Healthcare Corp., of Deerfield, Ill., and Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane of Ridgefield, Conn.
“Now, more than ever, it is essential that state agencies and programs get the maximum value for the tax dollars they receive,” Corbett said. “We will vigorously pursue any allegations that the Commonwealth is being overcharged or that businesses are artificially manipulating prices.”
Corbett noted that lawsuits against several other drug companies are still ongoing.