Pharmacy Benefit Manager Express Scripts Faces Lawsuit From Two New York Labor Groups
Two New York state labor groups, the Organization of New York State Management Confidential Employees and United University Professions, on Sunday announced that they have filed a lawsuit against St. Louis-based pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts over allegations that the company withheld rebates and inflated prescription drug prices, the AP/Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports. PBMs negotiate reduced prices for prescription drugs for their customers, and the companies often receive rebates from pharmaceutical companies based on sales volume. In the lawsuit, filed on Dec. 31 in state Supreme Court in New York City, the labor groups, which represent more than 30,000 state employees, allege that Express Scripts withheld such rebates from customers and accepted payments from pharmaceutical companies to recommend higher-priced medications. The lawsuit seeks undisclosed monetary and punitive damages. Express Scripts provides 1.1 million current and retired state employees with pharmacy benefit management under a contract that ends in 2005. William Scheuerman, president of United University Professions, said in a statement, "Our members are being shortchanged, and the taxpayers of New York state are being shortchanged." Express Scripts spokesperson Steve Littlejohn did not comment on the lawsuit but said that the company has met the terms of the contract. He added, "We align our interests to those of our clients and our members" (Chang, AP/Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 1/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.