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Published on 25 February 2008

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AstraZeneca to appeal over US fine

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Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has announced it intends to appeal against a verdict that it falsely inflated the prices of drugs it charged the Alabama State Medicaid Agency in America.

It comes after a hearing at Montgomery County Circuit Court ordered the firm to pay $40m in compensatory damages and $175m in punitive damages.

Alabama Attorney General Troy King sued 73 drug manufacturers in 2005 alleging that misleading prices meant Alabama Medicaid gave too much money back to pharmacists.

But a statement from the firm said: “AstraZeneca maintains that this lawsuit is legally and factually unfounded.

“The case was based on the misleading premise that the Alabama State Medicaid Agency did not understand how drug prices are established and reported.

“AstraZeneca also believes serious errors occurred during the proceedings and that the verdict should not be upheld.”

It added: “AstraZeneca and the State Medicaid programme share a common goal of helping people access the medicines they need.

“To help patients who have difficulty affording their medicines, AstraZeneca offers patient assistance programmes side by side with its medicines.

“In the last two years alone, Alabama patients have received more than $25.5m in savings through the company’s prescription savings programmes.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008

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