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Major Rollback of Pharmaceutical Bench Mark Prices Approved by Federal Court of Appeals, Hagens Berman Announces
Date:9/10/2009

BOSTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Purchasers of pharmaceutical drugs including consumers and health plans will soon enjoy a rollback of benchmark prices of some of the most common prescription medications after a Federal Appeals Court last week affirmed the approval of a settlement with two leading drug-pricing publishers, First DataBank, Inc. and Medi-Span, a division of Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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

The court's approval clears the way for the pricing rollback to go into effect on Sept. 26, 2009, and could save consumers and other purchasers hundreds of millions of dollars.

The settlement stems from a 2005 class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of health benefit plans and consumers against First DataBank (FDB) and McKesson Corporation, a large pharmaceutical wholesaler. According to the suit filed by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, plaintiffs claimed that the majority of brand name drugs are reimbursed based on a pricing benchmark known as the "average wholesale price" or AWP, a benchmark that the suit claimed was manipulated by the defendants to boost profits.

District Judge Patti Saris of the District of Massachusetts summarized the allegations in her approval order, "[t]ypically, a drug's wholesale acquisition cost or 'WAC' was understood as the price wholesalers paid to purchase a drug from the manufacturer; the WAC was then marked up by a fixed percentage to derive the AWP. Beginning in 2001, FDB and McKesson reached a secret agreement to raise the markup between WAC and AWP from its standard 20 percent to 25 percent for more than 400 drugs. The scheme resulted in higher profits for retail pharmacies that purchased drugs on the basis of WAC but are reimbursed on the basis of AWP."

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SOURCE Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro
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