Ohio Attorney General Sues Overcharging Pharmacies for Prescription Drugs
The recent lawsuit relates to a negligence case where Express Scripts was involved in. The lawsuit was filed in Circuit Court in St. Louis County, Mo., and was reviewed by Dow Jones & Co. Express Scripts stated in their lawsuit that their investigation did not uncover E&Y’s acts directly affecting any patient or sensitive medical data. They further claimed in their suit that their investigation only revealed possible problems with the way E&Y insured clients.
Express Scripts Lawsuit
The state of Ohio is currently facing a number of lawsuits as a result of its Pharmaceutical Savings Plan (PSP) program. This program was designed to allow pharmacists to capitalize on the practice of buying low cost drugs from wholesalers in order to increase their profits. However, the state of Ohio claims that this was legal according to the laws of the United States Congress and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to the OAG, this was illegal because of the language in a Congressional Joint Resolution calling for an investigation into the practices of five out of seven largest pharmaceutical companies. The stated reasoning was that these companies did not have a legitimate intent to benefit consumers in terms of price increases on various medications.
The complaint against Express Scripts goes further by claiming that they engaged in practices such as “price fixing” where they would fix the cost of a medication in order to maintain a certain profit margin.
In addition to being guilty of price fixing, this is a violation of the anti-trust laws of the United States. According to the complaint, this violates the provisions of the Ohio Department of Insurance.
An additional allegation of this nature is that the company intentionally and recklessly spread pricing information to clients without providing them with a range of pricing options.
According to the complaint filed against Express Scripts, it is not possible for a person to compare the prices of different plans to get an accurate picture of the true costs involved in purchasing each plan.
Therefore, the complaint continues, there is no way for a person to make an informed decision regarding the purchase of a policy.
This results in what is called “price shopping” which is when a person considers several different plans and then chooses the most inexpensive one based on inaccurate data. This is a common practice used by pharmaceutical reps. However, this is not allowed by Ohio law.
The complaint further claims that the pricing manipulation is intended to benefit from the “misunderstanding of price” between insurance agents and prescription drug plan participants and that this misrepresentation of price was intentional and knowing or reckless.
The anti-trust laws of the United States and the federal securities laws of the United States prohibit companies from engaging in unfair, deceptive, and manipulative acts.
Anti-trust laws prohibit companies from engaging in a practice that attempts to control the market. The Ohio code also prohibits companies from engaging in any manipulative or unfair act designed to increase the price of a product or service in order to benefit personally or through their business.
The complaint further claims that the practice of keeping secret information from consumers and failing to provide adequate disclosure about the cost of a particular pharmaceutical service violates the provisions of the anti-trust laws.
The complaint further states that since Express Scripts’ alleged conduct violated the anti-trust laws, it has lost money and suffered financial harm. Therefore, it can be proven that the company engaged in anti-trust behavior and therefore violated the securities laws of the United States and Ohio.
The anti-trust laws were enacted by Congress to prevent manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, brokers, and retailers from engaging in behavior that would cause a price increase in demand, create unreasonably high barriers to entry into the market, and result in consumer confusion.
Therefore, rebates are considered a form of price protection rebates. The complaint further claims that since the discount cards were introduced, there has been an increase in fraudulent claims due to the lack of adequate disclosure and monitoring of rebates.
The anti-trust laws were intended to protect honest dealers and vendors, not “pirates” who attempt to charge unsuspecting consumers for false or inaccurate rebate offers. As the complaint states: “The defendants systematically engage in price fixing transactions with complete disregard for the fact that such transactions do not result in increases in consumer purchases.”
It is important to remember that the goal of these anti-trust laws is to protect consumers from dishonest businesses and vendors.
If you have fallen victim to an express scripts lawsuit, then you should consider seeking a fair and equitable settlement. It is important that you contact your attorney as soon as possible so you can learn what your options are.
Some of the options that you have included seeking a court trial, settling the case privately, or reaching a confidential settlement. Many victims feel trapped because they do not know their options when they become a victim of this type of fraudulent activity.
Express Scripts LLC is also alleged in another Pharmacy Benefit Manager lawsuit that they engage in a conspiracy to unfairly increase the price of Prescription Drug Insurance (RPI) and rebate programs.
This allegation is another common theme among recent Ohio Attorneys General, which is attempting to tighten the noose on prescription drug providers by putting them out of business. If you find yourself falling victim to this type of predatory activity, then it is imperative that you contact a qualified Ohio attorney general as quickly as possible.
The more you know about these types of lawsuits, the better equipped you will be to fight back. You may even find yourself entitled to additional compensation damages based on your state of residence and employer.