Legal Newsline

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Walgreens fighting class actions in two states over alleged price-fixing

By Dee Thompson | Sep 6, 2017

Medical malpractice 07

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) – Walgreens continues to fight a class action lawsuit over alleged price-fixing in a lawsuit being heard before in an Illinois federal court.

In March, plaintiffs Dorothy Forth, Troy Termine, Cynthia Russo and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 38 Health and Welfare Fund alleged that Walgreens artificially inflated the prices of generic drugs. 

As Legal Newsline previously reported, “The plaintiffs hold Walgreen Co. and Walgreens Boot Alliance Inc. responsible because the defendants allegedly reported artificially inflated customary prices for generics on claims submitted to third-party payers.”

On July 20, Walgreen’s filed a memorandum of law in support of its motion to dismiss the first amended complaint. It noted that, "Specifically, plaintiffs... complain that Walgreens submitted charges to their insurers that were based on Walgreens’ usual and customary ('U&C') prices rather than the discount prices charged to other Walgreens customers who paid a membership fee to join Walgreens’ Prescription Saving Club ('PSC') and who paid cash for their prescriptions in accordance with the program."

Walgreens contends that the plaintiffs failed to plead claims for fraud and negligent misrepresentation, and their state law claims for relief are without merit and should be dismissed.

On July 21, Walgreen’s also filed a motion to stay the case. There is a similar class action case pending in California, and Walgreens asked that the Illinois case be stayed until the California case is concluded, pointing out that, “A stay in this case would serve the interests of justice and judicial economy because the two cases are essentially the same: the plaintiffs in both actions allege that the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club ('PSC') program violates California law (along with various other statutory and common laws) concerning prescription drug prices. The parties to the two actions are also similar, as the named plaintiffs seek to represent almost identical classes and the defendant in both actions is Walgreens."

The plaintiffs responded that the action belonged only in Illinois. 

“Plaintiffs’ argument is simple. They contend that, because Walgreens has argued that other cases – under the particular facts of those cases – belong in the Northern District of Illinois, then all cases involving Walgreens must belong only in the Northern District of Illinois. This is absurd and lacks any support," according to Walgreen's reply in support of motion to stay the action, filed Aug. 31.

A status hearing is set for Sept. 20.

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Organizations in this Story

Eastern Division of the Northern District of IllinoisInternational Brotherhood of Electrical Workers