Madigan's Drug War

AG gets Big Pharma to pay up

Four years ago, state attorney general Lisa Madigan filed suit against the Deerfield-based drugmaker Baxter and dozens of other pharmaceutical companies for allegedly inflating prices used in setting Medicaid rates.

Now Baxter has become the eighth such company to agree to a settlement with Madigan, bringing her total take to more than $26 million recovered by the state.

Baxter's share is $6.8 million - deposited into the state's general fund but for the payment of Medicaid bills.

"The lawsuit alleged that inflated prices resulted in the overpayment of drug costs by the state of Illinois," the Deerfield Review reports. "The terms of the settlement cover more than two dozen Baxter drugs."

“This is the second settlement this month with a drug company that has engaged in unfair conduct,” Madigan said in a statement.

Baxter isn't exactly admitting wrongdoing.

"Deborah Spak, Baxter's director of external communications, wrote in an e-mail to Pioneer Press that the corporation's employees have 'acted in a responsible, lawful and transparent manner, and are actively resolving or preparing to vigorously defend these cases'," the paper reports.

Other companies that have settlemed include Bristol-Myers Squibb and its subsidiary Apothecon Inc. for $10 million; TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc, Abbott Laboratories and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. for $1.86 million; and Amgen and Immunex for $7.2 million, the Daily Herald notes.

Among the companies yet to settle: Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Pfizer.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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