BOSTON May 28 The state of Connecticut sued
McKesson Corp (MCK.N) on Wednesday on charges that the drug
wholesaler violated anti-racketeering laws by conspiring to
artificially inflate the wholesale prices used to determine
payments by private and public insurance plans.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, alleges
that McKesson and publishing company First DataBank conspired
to expand to 25 percent from 20 percent the difference between
the price retailers paid for prescription drugs, known as the
wholesale acquisition cost, or WAC, and average wholesale
price, or AWP.
The suit cites First DataBank as a co-conspirator.
It alleges that First DataBank, which publishes directories
of drug prices, in late 2001 agreed to increase the AWP figures
regardless of actual market prices. That made it more
profitable for retailers to sell drugs distributed by McKesson,
according to the suit.
"To conceal the scheme, McKesson and First Data agreed to
typically effectuate price changes only when some other
WAC-based price announcement was made by a drug manufacturer,"
the suit said.
In addition to civil racketeering charges, the suit alleges
that San Francisco-based McKesson violated federal anti-trust
laws and Connecticut fair trade laws. It seeks monetary damages
in compensation for the higher reimbursement rates for
McKesson-distributed drugs paid out by Connecticut state health
A McKesson spokesman was not immediately available for
This is not the first time McKesson has been sued over the
pricing issue. The New England Carpenters Health Benefits Fund
sued McKesson and First DataBank in Boston over this issue in
2005. In August, that suit was granted class-action status.
Connecticut said in court papers that it filed its suit in
Boston federal court due to the related cases being heard
(Editing by John Wallace)