California Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) has charged the top brands in Big Pharma with bilking the state out hundreds of millions of dollars over the past decade by overcharging the state’s taxpayer-funded medical service.
In the charge, Lockyer accuses the pharamceutical companies of systematically defrauding the state’s taxpayers by billing the Medi-Cal system up to 10 times the price they charge private pharmacies and hospitals.
Medi-Cal serves California’s elderly and other citizens who are unable to afford private insurance. Its $34 billion annual budget is derived from both state and federal taxes. Drug costs make up about $4 billion of Medi-Cal’s annual budget.
Lockyer’s filing included charges against Abbott Laboratories, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Amgen, Baxter Healthcare, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Mylan Laboratories, Novartis, Schering-Plough and about 30 other companies.