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U.S. and 16 States Join Suits Against Pharmaceutical Giant, Wyeth
Date:5/18/2009

ersion of Protonix in the hospital would later purchase Protonix Oral once they were discharged from the hospital. Under the Protonix Performance Agreement, hospitals that placed both products on their formularies and attained certain market share requirements were entitled to up to a 94% discount off the list price of Protonix Oral and up to 80% off the list price of Protonix IV. Although Wyeth was required under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program to determine the effective prices paid by hospitals under this arrangement, and to pass along the benefit of the lowest prices to the state Medicaid programs, Wyeth allegedly failed to do so and therefore avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars to Medicaid in quarterly rebates.

"Our complaint charges that Wyeth created the Protonix bundle so they could increase their market share at the expense of the Medicaid program -- a program to provide the least advantaged Americans with necessary medical care and services," said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. "By offering massive discounts to hospitals, but then hiding that information from the Medicaid program, we believe Wyeth caused Medicaid programs throughout the country to pay much more for these drugs than they should have."

The two separate civil False Claims Act suits - called qui tam actions - were filed against Wyeth and are pending in the District of Massachusetts. In addition to the United States, California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin also have intervened in the whistleblower suits against Wyeth.

"The best price reporting requirement is designed to assure that the nation's healthcare programs for the poor - the Medicaid programs - are treated equally with drug companies' best commercial customers," said Michael K. Loucks, Acting U
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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