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Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro: McKesson Settles RICO Lawsuit for $350 Million
Date:11/21/2008

SEATTLE, Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys representing consumers and third-party payers today announced a proposed landmark $350 million settlement with healthcare services giant McKesson (NYSE: MCK) to settle allegations the company fraudulently inflated the price of more than 400 prescription drugs by manipulating drug-pricing benchmarks.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080317/AQM144LOGO)

The lawsuit, filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), claimed McKesson conspired with drug publishing company First DataBank (FDB) to fraudulently inflate the widely used Average Wholesale Price (AWP) figures, which insurance companies, retailers and others use to calculate the purchase price, payments and co-payments of the most common prescription medications.

The settlement is one of the nation's largest RICO settlements, and if approved by the court will be distributed among third-party payers, cash and co-pay consumers.

"The impact of this settlement is very significant for all who have paid for brand name drugs," said Steve Berman, managing partner at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and lead counsel.

Retailers typically purchase drugs based on the wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) and base co-pays and charges to third-party payers using the AWP, court documents show. The suit alleged McKesson and FDB increased the AWP spread between WAC and AWP from 20 to 25 percent beginning in 2001, allowing retail clients to reap larger profits at the expense of consumers and third-party payers, such as insurance companies. By 2004, nearly every common prescription drug enjoyed a 25 percent spread between the two benchmarks.

Plaintiffs claimed McKesson orchestrated
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SOURCE Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro
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