Walgreen sued for overcharging for generics

Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:03am EST

A sign for a Walgreens store is seen in Belle Glade, Florida, January 6, 2010.   REUTERS/Carlos Barria

A sign for a Walgreens store is seen in Belle Glade, Florida, January 6, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria

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(Reuters) - A union benefits fund filed a class action suit Wednesday, accusing Walgreen Co and generic drug maker Par Pharmaceutical Cos Inc of overcharging for various generic drugs in a bid to boost profits.

The complaint, filed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Unions and Employers Midwest Health and Pension Fund, alleges that Walgreen, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, violated federal racketeering laws.

"Starting April 1999 through December, 2006, Par and Walgreen conspired to increase their profit through at least two schemes to illegally fill prescriptions with Par's higher-priced products rather than the specific drugs prescribed by physicians," the complaint alleged.

The drugs involved included generic versions of antidepressant drug Prozac and anti-heartburn drug Zantac, the complaint said.

Neither company could immediately be reached for comment outside U.S. business hours.

The case is In re: United Food and Commercial Workers Unions and Employers Midwest Health Benefits Fund vs. Walgreen Co., U.S. District Court for Northern District of Illinois, No. 12-CV-00204. (Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed in Bangalore; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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Comments (3)
ironjustice wrote:
A union complaining someone is ‘taking them for a ride’.
The phrase “calling the kettle black” comes to mind.

Jan 13, 2012 9:59am EST  --  Report as abuse
all i know is this: i started using walgreens in early 2010. on various prescriptions ie, for infections, etc., it seemed like to me they charged differently each time. a couple of times more! then on my maintenance drugs, they continually each time got higher. i left them, but not before asking the pharmacist why. when he hesitated, and sttutered, i knew i’d better just leave.

Jan 13, 2012 10:40am EST  --  Report as abuse
ironjustice wrote:
This gives a bit of incentive for the use of ‘ATM’ type of pharmacies. They have developed self-dispensing machines which with a little bit of a push could be installed pretty much in any doctors’ office. We could have the pharmacists ‘retrained’ in some way and have the cost of medicines drop substantially. The ONLY way of surviving this Health Care Cost Crisis is by trimming the fat so to speak and that is by removing the capitalist ‘incentive’ and that incentive in this scenario is the ability to rip off the customer at any chance they get. Sooo by eliminating the ‘middle man’ the health care costs go DOWN simply due to the lack of thieves IN a simple ATM machine. Imho.

Jan 13, 2012 11:44am EST  --  Report as abuse
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