State Pharmacies File Lawsuit Alleging Anticompetitive Practices by Medco, Merck
Two California pharmacies have filed a lawsuit in San Francisco County Superior Court against pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions and drug maker Merck -- its former parent company -- alleging anticompetitive practices, including price fixing, Medco officials announced Friday, Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times reports. According to a Medco filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Alameda Drug and 1750 Medical Center Pharmacy allege that the company gave preferential treatment to Merck products and set prescription drug prices above competitive levels. The lawsuit seeks compensation for profits that the pharmacies allegedly lost because of the anticompetitive practices. Medco spokesperson Soraya Balzac said that the company "vehemently den[ies] the allegations." A Merck executive declined to comment, according to Bloomberg/Times. Trade group Pharmacy Defense Fund has joined the California pharmacies' lawsuit. Merck also faces a civil action by the Department of Justice and lawsuits filed by pharmacies in Alabama and Pennsylvania (Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times, 2/21).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.