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Idaho recovers $28M, wins reforms in litigation over Medicaid drug pricing

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today that the state has recovered more than $28 million, as a result of six years of litigation regarding overcharging by major drug manufacturers who sold prescription drugs to Idaho’s Medicaid program. Idaho has settled with 33 drug companies – three of those without litigation – and also won price disclosure concessions Wasden says will prevent such improperly inflated price reporting in future years. “In negotiating these settlements, we tried to look forward as well as backward,” Wasden said. “We recovered a significant amount of money to compensate the state for past practices. But equally as important, the state will receive pricing data from these companies going forward. That element of the settlements will help protect the taxpayers from future pricing abuses.” That data would otherwise have been confidential.

Until July 1, 2011, prescription drug prices paid by Idaho’s Medicaid program relied on companies’ reports of the “average wholesale price,” or AWP, as a basis for determining the acquisition cost to pharmacies. Wasden said, “One of them indicated that ‘AWP’ stands for ‘ain’t what’s paid.’”

While other states also have sued drug manufacturers over the issue, Wasden took a different approach, first calling all of them in for a meeting. As a result, three settlements were reached without the state even having to sue. The litigation led to reforms in how drug pricing for Medicaid is calculated, which state Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong said are now “saving over $10 million a year for the citizens of Idaho,” saying Idaho has now “completely changed the way drugs are priced and paid for” through its Medicaid program.

Because the federal government pays 70 percent of the costs of Medicaid in Idaho, which provides health coverage for the state’s poorest and disabled residents, the feds will get $13.56 million of the recovery, in the form of credits against future federal Medicaid payments to Idaho. The state’s share of the settlements, $7.2 million, was deposited in the state’s general fund for appropriation by the Legislature. The rest of the money went to cover the costs of the investigations and litigation; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

Wasden filed the first lawsuits in 2007; the first settlements were reached in 2005, 2006 and 2008, and the last one, with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. for $750,000, was reached last month.

Glaxo to pay Idaho $1.33M in drug settlement

Pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline LLC will pay Idaho $1.33 million as part of a 38-state settlement over its promotion of its diabetes drug, Avandia. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and 38 other state attorneys general contended that the firm claimed the drug had cardiovascular benefits, when it actually may increase cardiovascular risks. The firm admitted no wrongdoing, but it agreed to change its marketing practices for the drug and to pay $90 million to the states to resolve the lawsuit. Click below for Wasden's full announcement. The money will go to Idaho's consumer protection account, where it's subject to legislative appropriation.

Idaho gets $2.9M in drug settlement

Idaho will receive $2,847,890 as its share of a multistate drug settlement, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today; the $181 million settlement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is over improper marketing of four anti-psychotic drugs. The company allegedly pushed the drugs for unapproved off-label uses; as part of the settlement with 37 states, Janssen admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to change how it markets the drugs and refrain from false, misleading or deceptive promotions. Idaho's share of the settlement will go to the Attorney General's consumer protection account; click below for Wasden's full announcement.

Idaho recovers $1.7 million in drug settlement

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― Idaho has reached a $1.7 million settlement with a pharmaceutical company over allegations of excessive wholesale prices paid by the state's Medicaid program. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced the deal Monday with Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Watson Pharma, Inc. Watson is among the top four generic drug companies in the world. Wasden sued the company in 2007 seeking to recover taxpayer money used to pay high prices charged to Idaho Medicaid for prescription drugs. Before filing the lawsuit, Wasden said an investigation by his office found drug companies like Watson were posting false and inflated prices for their drugs on the wholesale market. The state will use about $1.05 million to reimburse overpayments made by Medicaid; $50,000 will cover the state's investigative and legal costs; and $423,725 will go to the the state's general fund. So far, Idaho has recovered $22 million in similar lawsuits with drug makers.

Idaho to get $1.6M from Glaxo settlement

A national legal settlement with drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will bring Idaho more than $1.6 million, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today, including $732,750 to reimburse Idaho's Medicaid program, and $877,679 to go into Idaho's general fund. The firm will pay another $3.7 million to the federal government to reimburse its increased costs for Idaho Medicaid due to the fraud. Overall, the company agreed to pay $3 billion, including a $1 billion criminal fine. Click below for the full announcement from Wasden's office.

Idaho wins $2.6M drug pricing settlement

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has announced a settlement with prescription drug maker GlaxoSmithKline for $2.6 million, settling charges of drug overpricing to Idaho's Medicaid program. Since 2005, this is the 14th such case Wasden has resolved, resulting in total recoveries of more than $20 million. Click below for Wasden's full announcement. Three more cases, naming eight other drug manufacturers, still are pending.

Drug settlement brings Idaho $625K

Two prescription drug manufacturers, Mylan Laboratories Inc. and Mylan Pharmaceuticals, have agreed to pay Idaho $625,000 in a legal settlement over allegations of overcharging the state's Medicaid program, without admitting wrongdoing. “This settlement addresses the harm incurred by Idaho’s taxpayers and the State,” said Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. “It should stop the reporting of false and misleading drug prices and provide the state significant financial relief. This settlement is good for Idaho because it successfully resolves this dispute without the need for further, costly litigation.” Click below for the Attorney General's full announcement.

Drug maker to pay Idaho $2.5 million

Prescription drug manufacturer AstraZeneca has agreed to pay Idaho $2.5 million in a legal settlement related to overpricing drugs for the state's Medicaid program, in violation of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act. More than $620,000 of the payment will go to the state's general fund; $50,000 to the consumer protection account to cover investigative and legal costs; and $1.5 million to the state’s Cooperative Welfare Fund as a credit against the federal government’s next payment to Idaho Medicaid, of which the feds pay about 70 percent of the costs.

“This settlement provides relief to Idaho taxpayers and brings the matter to a conclusion without the need for continued litigation,” said Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.  “I appreciate that the companies were willing to work with my office to reach an appropriate resolution.” Wasden has resolved 10 such cases with drug manufacturers since 2005 and recovered more than $13 million; cases against 18 other drug manufacturers still are pending. Click below for Wasden's full announcement.

AstraZeneca spokeswoman Laura Woodin said, “AstraZeneca has competed responsibly with respect to pricing and marketing of our medicines, and we firmly believe that we have acted at all times in accordance with the law.  Although we deny liability, after years of costly litigation, we believe that this agreement was the appropriate way to resolve this matter quickly and allow the company to focus on our core mission to deliver meaningful medicines to patients.”

Idaho gets $600K in pharmaceutical settlement

Idaho will get more than $600,000 in a legal settlement with two pharmaceutical manufacturers, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today, over unfair and deceptive practices in manufacturing and distributing four drugs the companies manufactured in Puerto Rico, including Paxil CR, a popular antidepressant drug, and Kytril, a drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The companies, GlaxoSmithKline and SB Pharmco Puerto Rico, no longer are using the Puerto Rico manufacturing plant, and all tainted batches of the drugs were recalled; click below for the full announcement from Wasden.

Idaho gets $47K in drug settlement

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A global pharmaceutical company has agreed to pay Idaho $47,000 to settle a fraud lawsuit over a prescription drug for treating multiple sclerosis. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced the settlement Wednesday. Idaho's case is part of bigger lawsuit involved several states and the federal government against EMD Serono, Inc. The company makes Rebif, a prescription drug used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. State and federal attorneys alleged the company made inappropriate payments to hundreds of doctors for prescribing Rebif between 2002 and 2009. Of Idaho's share, more than $18,000 will go to the state Medicaid program as restitution, while the additional $28,000 will go into the state's general fund. Altogether, the company agreed to pay more than $44.3 million to the federal government and other states.

Idaho gets $1.65M in drug settlement

Idaho will collect $1.65 million in a legal settlement with the prescription drug manufacturer Sandoz Inc. for overstating the average wholesale price of drugs, causing Idaho’s Medicaid program to overpay; among others, Sandoz manufactures a generic version of the drug Prozac. The company admits no wrongdoing in the settlement but agrees to pay; Wasden has reached six similar settlements with drug manufacturers since 2005, resulting in payments of another $7 million to Idaho taxpayers. Three more average wholesale price cases, involving two dozen other drug manufacturers, still are pending. Click below to read Wasden’s full announcement.

Idaho gets $1.9 million in drug settlement

Idaho will get $1.9 million in a legal settlement with four prescription drug manufacturers, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today. “This settlement reimburses unfair costs to Idaho taxpayers,” Wasden said, through Medicaid reimbursements. Click below to read his full announcement.

Idaho to get millions in drug settlement

Idaho has reached a $13 million settlement with drug manufacturer Eli Lilly & Co., the state’s biggest financial recovery under the Idaho Consumer Protection Act aside from the 1998 tobacco settlement. The state sued the pharmaceutical manufacturer over its marketing of Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic drug, saying the drug company “engaged in deceptive marketing” and “failed to warn health care providers of serious side effects, resulting in significant costs to Idaho Medicaid.” Part of the money will go to reimburse the federal government, which pays part of the cost of Idaho’s Medicaid program, while about $6.9 million will go to the state’s general fund. “Off-label promotion of pharmaceutical drugs is a deceptive practice and creates unnecessary risks to consumers,” Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said.  “In this instance, the company’s practices also resulted in additional costs to Idaho Medicaid, at the expense of Idaho taxpayers.  Fortunately we were able to reach this settlement and recover those taxpayer dollars.” Click below to read Wasden’s full announcement.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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