Drug firm to pay Maine $1.4M for overcharging MaineCare

By Jackie Farwell, BDN Staff
Posted July 27, 2012, at 2:35 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine will receive $1.4 million as part of a national settlement with a drug wholesaler accused of inflating prices for prescription medications and overcharging state Medicaid programs.

Maine Attorney General William Schneider on Friday announced Maine’s share of the $151 million settlement reached with McKesson Corporation, one of the country’s largest drug wholesalers. The settlement is with Maine and 28 other states.

“The state paid artificially high prices due to the manipulation of the drug reimbursement system by this corporation,” Schneider said in a press release. “Through this settlement, MaineCare will receive restitution for those excessive payments.”

MaineCare, as Medicaid is known in the state, is funded jointly by the state and federal governments.

San Francisco-based McKesson was accused of reporting artificially high pricing information to First Databank, a publisher of drug prices that most state Medicaid programs use to set pharmacy reimbursement rates for prescription drugs dispensed to beneficiaries.

The settlement stems from a 2005 lawsuit alleging that McKesson violated state and federal false claims acts. The company agreed in April to pay $187 million to settle the federal government’s share of Medicaid costs. The $151 million agreement settles the states’ portion of the case.

McKesson representative Kris Fortner said the claims against the company were without merit and the settlement is “in the best interest of our employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders.”

Maine expects to receive the settlement funds this fall, said Assistant Attorney General Michael Miller, director of the office’s Healthcare Crimes Unit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/07/27/health/drug-firm-to-pay-maine-1-4m-for-overcharging-mainecare/ printed on November 28, 2014