Media Center

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Lauds Appellate Court Ruling in Pharmaceutical Pricing Case


MADISON — The Wisconsin Court of Appeals today issued an opinion on a “plethora of issues argued by the parties” in a complex pharmaceutical pricing deception case directed at conduct costing the Wisconsin Medicaid program millions of dollars, and concluded that the “trial court’s rulings should be affirmed in their entirety.”


Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen stated he was pleased by the result, noting that the ruling will enable the litigation pending before the Honorable Richard G. Niess in Dane County Circuit Court to move to its next phase.


The Wisconsin Department of Justice filed the lawsuit in 2004, naming 36 pharmaceutical manufacturers as defendants, alleging that they violated Wisconsin’s Medicaid fraud statute and Deceptive Trade Practices Act by inflating their reported drug prices to increase pharmacies’ reimbursement from Wisconsin Medicaid.  After more than four years of extensive pretrial litigation, the first jury trial, against defendant Pharmacia, was conducted February of 2009, resulting in a finding of liability and an order for damages, forfeitures, and costs of more than $22 million.


Pharmacia appealed, and in June of 2012 the Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed the trial court on three certified issues, before remanding the case to the court of appeals to address the remaining contested issues. 


“Every Wisconsin court that has been presented with the facts regarding the pharmaceutical manufacturers’ fraudulent pricing practices has found in favor of the State.  We place a high priority on protecting taxpayer dollars and the assets of Wisconsin Medicaid.  Any dollar fraudulently obtained is one that can’t go to those who truly need assistance,” Van Hollen said.


“This is great news for Wisconsin taxpayers and those who rely on medical assistance.  By this pricing scheme, taxpayers were defrauded.  Medicaid money that was overpaid for drugs could not be used for legitimate purposes.  Employer costs rose due to higher premiums.  People had to pay higher rates, and the uninsured couldn’t afford the medications they needed.  This decision helps to rectify that.”


“We’ve already obtained settlements of more than $17 million with 10 of the other defendants, as well as the judgment against Pharmacia.  We’re one step closer to resolving claims against the remaining defendants.”  


Wisconsin Medicaid is a healthcare assistance program for the needy and disabled jointly funded by the state and federal governments.