Oklahoma joins lawsuit against Wyeth

By Nick Rees | Jul 16, 2010


OKLAHOMA CITY (Legal Newsline) - Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson's request to intervene in a lawsuit against drug manufacturer Wyeth has been granted by a Massachusetts federal court.

The lawsuit alleges that Wyeth, a unit of Pfizer, Inc., overcharged state Medicaid programs for Protonix Oral and Protonix IV, which are stomach acid medications.

Drug manufacturers are required by the federal Medicaid Drug Rebate Program to offer government purchasers their medications at the same discount prices that large commercial customers are offered.

Oklahoma's Medicaid program, which is administered by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, purchases large quantities of various medications.

Edmondson is seeking reimbursement for any overcharge to Oklahoma by Wyeth for the two Protonix medications by intervening in the lawsuit, which alleges that the drug company provided steep discounts to thousands of hospitals nationwide from 2000-2006 but did not make the same savings available to states.

Edmondson alleges that the exact amount that the state of Oklahoma was overcharged is not known, but that, nationally, the amount of overcharges is believed to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars range.

Wyeth contends that its pricing program is correct.

More than a dozen states -- including California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia -- have joined the lawsuit against Wyeth to date.

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