Chiron Subpoenaed in Discount Pricing Inquiry
The state attorney general's office has subpoenaed Emeryville, Calif.-based Chiron Corp., a large biotechnology company, to get information on the company's pricing of generic oncology drugs to the state Medi-Cal program and federal Medicaid program, Bloomberg News/Los Angeles Times reports. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Chiron said the drugs were sold by
Cetus-Ben Venue Therapeutics. That firm is a joint venture between Chiron and Ben Venue Laboratories, a unit of the German drug firm Boehringer Ingelheim. In 1996, Chiron sold its interest in the venture. In SEC filings, Chiron said it believes the subpoena is related to a "whistle-blower" lawsuit filed against it and "a large number of other pharmaceutical companies." The Justice Department previously subpoenaed Immunex Corp., Schering-Plough Corp. and the pharmacy benefit management departments of Rite Aid Corp. and Merck & Co. to investigate "big" pharmaceutical companies' marketing tactics. Chiron said it is unsure when the "legal matter" will be resolved (Bloomberg News/Los Angeles Times, 11/8).