For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: August 3, 2012
Aventis to Pay $828,500 in Drug Pricing Settlement
(Boise) – Prescription drug manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC has agreed to pay $828,500 in a legal settlement resolving Idaho’s claims relating to the “average wholesale prices” reported by Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said.
Wasden filed lawsuits against several prescription drug manufacturers, including Aventis, in 2007. The lawsuits seek to recover taxpayer money for excessive prices Idaho Medicaid paid for prescription drugs. Idaho Medicaid provides health care services, including prescription drugs, to low-income Idahoans. By law, Idaho Medicaid must reimburse pharmacies at the “estimated acquisition cost” of the drug, plus a dispensing fee. Until July 1, 2011, Idaho Medicaid primarily used “average wholesale price,” as reported by drug manufacturers, as a basis for determining this amount.
“When a manufacturer reports an inflated or false average wholesale price for a drug, taxpayers pay too much for that drug through Medicaid reimbursements,” Attorney General Wasden said. “For example, one unit of Aventis’ pharmaceutical product, Allegra, had a published average wholesale price of $2.44 in 2003, but Wasden’s investigation revealed an actual average wholesale price of $1.937 in that year. This results in a 26 percent difference between the published price and the actual price.”
The settlement is intended to reimburse taxpayers for the excessive prices Idaho Medicaid paid for prescription drugs as a result of inflated average wholesale price reporting. $199,114.44 will be deposited in the state’s General Fund, which is the source of money for the state’s share of Medicaid prescription drug costs. $495,352.81 will be deposited into the Cooperative Welfare Fund to reimburse the federal Medicaid share. Idaho will retain this money as an offset against a future federal Medicaid payment. $50,000 will go to the Consumer Protection Account to reimburse the Attorney General for investigative and legal costs. That account partially funds the Attorney General’s consumer protection operations.
The settlement with Aventis has been approved by the Fourth District Court in Ada County. The company admitted no liability or wrongdoing.
Wasden’s office has recovered more than $23 million in average wholesale price settlements with 32 drug manufacturers. Two lawsuits are still pending against four other drug manufacturers.
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