Big Pharma Pays $13.6 million for Price Inflation

U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris has ordered drug companies AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squib to pay a total of $13.6 million in a Masachusetts case that alleged that they inflated the average wholesale price (AWP) of expensive and in some cases, life-saving drugs.  Judge Saris also found that the companies “unfairly and deceptively caused to be published false” average wholesale prices of drugs and thus caused “real injuries to the insurers and the patients who were paying grossly inflated prices for critically important, often life-sustaining drugs.”  Judge Saris said that she decided to double the assessed damages because the conduct was willful on the part of the companies. Judge Saris further stated that “The Defendants well understood the devastating impact the mega-spreads had on old and sick patients required to make co-payments they could ill afford.”

Bristol-Myers is maintaining that their pricing was fair and that they intend to appeal this decision.

Of note is the fact that Judge Saris remarked and doubled the damages due to the wilfulness on the part of the defendants.  Further, this can expand to a nationwide class action lawsuit.

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