Big Pharma Settles at $151 million After Inflating Prices to Make Illegal Profit

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Pills, by Flickr user Jean, licensed by Creative Commons

The McKesson Corporation, a company that distributes wholesale pharmaceutical products, has just settled a lawsuit for $151 million with 29 different states including Washington DC.   After an 8 year investigation McKesson has been found guilty of inflating prescription drug prices in order to make an illegal profit.  This investigation found that McKesson had overbilled over 1,400 brand name drugs by up to 25% from 2001 to 2009. Some of these prescriptions included Adderall, Allegra, Ambien, Celexa, Lipitor, Prozac, and Ritalin.

California and New York will be acquiring the highest dollar amount from the suit. California will be receiving $24 million and New York, $36 million. The other States included in this settlement are; Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The money the states receive will go into the state Medicaid program, not  to any actual recipients.

Although McKesson did not admit to inflating drug prices, they agreed to settle because, as McKesson’s lawyer, Kris Fortner stated, “this settlement was in the best interest of our employees, customers, suppliers, and shareholders.” And further stated that, “We (McKesson) did not manipulate drug prices and did not violate any laws.” This seems like an awfully large settlement for a corporation who “did nothing wrong.”