HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii has filed a lawsuit against two companies to recover what the state
believes were prescription drug overcharges.
Attorney General Mark Bennett announced Wednesday that the
case was filed against McKesson Corp., a wholesaler of pharmaceutical products,
and First DataBank Inc., which compiles and publishes pricing information
regarding pharmaceutical products. The information is used by Hawaii’s Medicaid program, among others.
The lawsuit filed in state circuit court alleged the
companies inflated the average wholesale prices for certain brand-name pharmaceutical
products, and thus the state wound up overpaying Medicaid providers when
“To our knowledge, First DataBank has not yet been
served with any such lawsuit and, therefore, we cannot comment at this
time,” First DataBank spokeswoman Denise Apcar said in an e-mail.
A call seeking comment from McKesson wasn’t immediately returned.
The state described the lawsuit as part of its ongoing
effort to recover prescription drug overcharges.
Last month, Bennett announced about 40 pharmaceutical
companies accused of inflating drug prices would pay the state $82 million to
In that legal action, the companies were accused of bumping
up the prices of their drugs bought for Medicaid prescriptions from 1993 to
2006, resulting in the state overpaying for medications for tens of thousands
“Manipulation of average wholesale prices has cost Hawaii and the federal
government millions of dollars,” Bennett said Wednesday.
“We are bringing this second phase of this litigation
as part of an ongoing effort to recover overcharges and restore transparency
and fairness,” he said. “The first phase of the litigation, against
the drug manufacturers, was very successful, and this second phase of the
litigation continues our efforts.”
The state pays all prescription drug costs for Medicaid
patients. In Hawaii,
the cost of prescription drugs in the Medicaid program climbed from $45 million
in 1999 to $117 million in 2004, Bennett’s office said.