This article is sent from RXRights.org. One of the commentators when asked what should be do replied very simply, “Very easy to stop this kind of corporate behavior. Start jailing the CEOs who are responsible for the fraud committed by their companies.” To this we can only add give them all the ax!
How Drug Companies Rip Off Taxpayers
Drug companies aren’t supposed to charge government programs like Medicaid and Medicare more than private health care consumers. Patients in these programs are supposed to qualify for the lowest priced medications. In fact, there’s even an agreement with drug manufacturers to offset federal and state costs through rebates.
The government requires drug companies to report their lowest drug prices quarterly. Based on these reports, the companies pay rebates to state and federal programs. But because prices are self-reported, there are many opportunities for fraud.
Take the case of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (now owned by Pfizer). Beginning in 2001, the company allegedly sold Protonix to hospitals at half the price it charged Medicaid—and knowingly concealed this fact when reporting to the government. This case was settled for earlier this year for a whopping $784.6 million.
But drug manufacturers don’t appear to be the only ones ripping off taxpayers. A federal appeals court just decided that a lawsuit alleging that Kmart pharmacy overcharged Medicare Part D patients as much as 30 times more than others will move forward. And similar suits are pending at other pharmacy chains across the country
Why are we allowing an industry so powerful to police itself? Right now, the only way we find out about instances of pharma fraud is if someone blows the whistle. The solution to this problem seems relatively simple: pricing transparency. Attorney General Swanson has called for a federal audit of drug pricing information. This seems like a common sense first step towards stemming abuses of the system that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions. Transparency could also have the ripple effect of driving down drug prices.
RxRights is a national coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to raising awareness and spurring action around safe prescription drug importation. The Coalition seeks to inform and educate both the public and our elected officials on the complex issues surrounding prescription drug sales in the U.S. Read more about this effort
RxRights.org serves as a forum for individuals and organizations to share experiences and voice opinions regarding Americans’ need for affordable prescription medications from legitimate, licensed online and mail order pharmacies. We encourage participation and discussion through this website.
Individuals and organizations, including licensed Canadian and international pharmacies that meet high standards of safety (including accreditation as a licensed pharmacy requiring a valid prescription), are encouraged to join the RxRights Coalition.
RxRights received initial funding from the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA), a group of licensed retail pharmacies with a perfect safety record in selling pharmaceuticals to more than a million American citizens each year. Today, we are supported by a number of individuals and organizations that want to protect American access to safe and affordable prescription drugs from Canadian and other international online pharmacies.