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Miss. Attorney General Announces $38 Million Lawsuit Victory

By Daniel Cherry | Published 06 Sep 2011 08:28pm | comments

The state has won a lawsuit against a large pharmaceutical drug manufacturing company. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how a Mississippi court says the state is to be paid more than 38 million dollars for years of fraud.

The Rankin County court says the pharmaceutical company, Sandoz Inc. violated the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act and common law fraud regulations. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says Sandoz cheated the state out of tens of millions of dollars over several years.

"The pharmacies were told by this company, ''Hey we're really going to sell it to you at this price, but we've put this other price, this average wholesale price, up there on this list, and that's what the states are going to pay you. We're talking about these large pharmaceutical companies that were in these negotiations. They buy in bulk, and they got the lower price. Then the state had to reimburse them."

Sandoz had been reporting high prices for drugs. They would then sell to pharmacies at a much lower rate. State medicaid reimbursed pharmacies at the high reported price...then both Sandoz and the pharmacies would profit. Hood says the Attorney General's office will continue watching for fraud like this.

"It's all about the money. That's what these companies operate off of. It's about their stock price, and some managers of these companies just don't care. They have a golden parachute, and they'll sail off into the sunset once the company gets caught."

Mississippi has already settled for more than 38 million with other pharmaceutical companies. Sandoz was hit for 38 million alone in this case. Hood says this win is part of a much larger lawsuit.

"Legitimate companies just don't do these things, but when you see these kind of documents, you know that they do. You know they commit fraud, and they did it to the tune of $24 million to the State of Mississippi, and that's just one company. We originally sued 72."

The Attorney General says there are about 50 more companies the state is working on either settling with or taking to court. Hood hopes this verdict will pressure those companies to come forward and settle.

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