Lockyer To Add Pharmaceutical Companies to 2003 Medi-Cal Lawsuit
Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) on Thursday is expected to announce the names of as many as three dozen pharmaceutical companies he is adding to a 2003 lawsuit that accuses Abbott Laboratories and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals of inflating drug prices for Medi-Cal, AP/Contra Costa Times reports.
Teresa Schilling, a spokesperson for Lockyer, said the 2003 lawsuit has been combined with similar lawsuits from other states and is pending in U.S. District Court in Boston (Veiga, AP/Contra Costa Times, 8/25). Schilling declined to name the companies being named in the expanded lawsuit (Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, 8/25).
According to the AP/Times, Lockyer's decision to expand the lawsuit is based on information found by state investigators (AP/Contra Costa Times, 8/25).
The 2003 lawsuit said that the companies overstated average wholesale prices used to determine reimbursements, resulting in overpayments from Medi-Cal. Lockyer said that Medi-Cal drug costs doubled to $3 billion per year between 1997 and 2001, while enrollment dropped 15%. When the lawsuit was originally filed, the state sought damages of three times the amount of the alleged price inflation, in addition to civil penalties that could reach $10,000 for each claim (California Healthline, 1/8/03).