Wyeth Accused of Cheating Medicaid

Wyeth, the country's leading drug company, was "stealing" money from the US government health care program called Medicaid by overcharging the price of Protonix, a drug for stomach acid attack, according to the Justice Department.

Meanwhile, two whistleblowers alleged that the drug manufacturer has manipulated the price of its products.

The US Justice Department on Monday accused drugmaker giant Wyeth of fraud and price manipulation over the federal health care program Medicaid to avoid rebates amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Wyeth, a New Jersey-based drug company, was accused of “stealing” money from the US government health care program by overcharging the price of Protonix, a drug for stomach acid attack.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by two whistleblowers, who claimed that the pharmaceutical company has manipulated the pricing of its popular stomach acid drug by offering large discounts to hospitals for the two versions of Protonix for a period of six years, from 2000 to 2006.

Documents showed that the company has bundled the intravenous type of Protonox with the oral medicine in packages sold to hospitals in a bid to make more money from poor outpatients.

The law states that brand-name drug makers are strictly required to give similar rebates to State-funded Medicaid programs as to other customers who avail the drug.

If proven guilty, Wyeth will be slapped with fines that will amount three times the money Medicaid has lost during the period.

The Justice Department Assistant Attorney General Tony West pointed that the two whistleblowers are also entitled for a share that the government will acquire from the drug company if proven guilty.
 

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