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South Carolina sues drug companies for $40 million

August 07, 2006
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South Carolina''s attorney general has filed a lawsuit claiming the state lost at least $40 million because five companies inflated prescription drug prices, according to the Associated Press. The lawsuit claims five drug companies overcharged the state''s two largest health plans—Medicaid and the State Health Plan—more than $40 million since 1991 to pay for prescription drugs. None of the five companies named in the suit—Abbott Laboratories Inc.; Baxter International Inc.; Dey L.P.; Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane Inc. and Schering-Plough Corporation—are located in South Carolina. The suit claims the companies intentionally inflated the average wholesale price that a pharmacy charges a patient''s health plan. Medicaid, the state-federal insurance program for the poor and elderly, has spent more than $300 million on prescription drugs from the companies. The State Health Plan has spent over $100 million. Those plans cover nearly 30 percent of South Carolinians, Attorney General Henry McMaster said. McMaster said he anticipated more companies would be added to the lawsuit. Roughly 20 other states have filed similar lawsuits, McMaster said. According to documents provided by his office, either Schering-Plough or Warrick Pharmaceuticals Corp., one of its subsidiaries, has been named in most of the lawsuits.

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