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Big Drugmakers Must Pay Missouri $7.3 Million

ST. LOUIS (CN) - A jury ordered three pharmaceutical companies to pay $7.3 million to Missouri for overcharging for Medicaid prescription drugs. The jury is still deliberating on punitive damages.

The Missouri Attorney General's office claimed Warrick Pharmaceutical, Schering and Schering-Plough bilked Medicaid by inflating their average wholesale price of three respiratory drugs. The average wholesale price is a factor in Medicaid reimbursements.

The companies' attorney argued that the average wholesale price is a sticker price from which both sides could negotiate and that Missouri's own policies were responsible for overpayment.

As many as 20 other states have made similar accusations against the three companies. Officials for the companies said they won the only other case to come to trial so far, in West Virginia.

Anoka County, Minn., sued McKesson Corp. in Boston Federal Court on Monday in a similar claim. Kansas sued 13 major pharmaceutical companies on similar charges, in Wyandotte County Court.

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