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Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro: Nationwide Class Action Certified in Average Wholesale Price Litigation
Date:3/24/2008

acquisition costs from 20 to 25 percent in an effort to increase profits.

According to documents cited in the court's order McKesson communicated the price increase to First Databank, who published the information, even amid questions by manufacturers who recognized the impact to consumers and third-party payers. McKesson did so to raise the profits for its large clients like Rite Aid and Walgreen's.

In her ruling, Judge Saris cited internal documents where McKesson boasted that by the end of 2004 nearly "99%" of all brand-name drugs were set at a higher price as a result of the scheme. The order also noted that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) benefited from the scheme and cited a top secret Express Scripts document where an executive cautioned to "put a lid on" the financial benefit ESI was receiving from the price increase.

Attorneys estimate that damages on behalf of consumers could total from $200 to $800 million and damages on behalf of third-party payers will exceed $5 billion.

In August of 2007, Judge Saris initially certified the class of third-party payers, but not for damages, which last week's ruling includes. McKesson argued that third-party payers each have a unique contract with its PBMs, which allows for negotiation in drug pricing.

The lawsuit claims McKesson violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act, and if found guilty, could be forced to pay treble damages under the RICO statute as well as under various consumer protection statutes.

For more information on this case and to sign up as a consumer or third-party payer you can visit the Hagens Berman Web site at http://www.hbsslaw.com.

About Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, is based in Seattle with offices in Chicago, Cambridge, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco. Since 1993, it has developed a nationally recognized practice in cl
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