Case Charging Nation's Largest Drug Companies of Defrauding Consumers Moves Closer to Trial
BOSTON – In a case charging the nation's leading drug companies with defrauding consumers and inflating the cost of prescriptions, U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris has ruled she will grant the case national class-action status once attorneys for the plaintiffs make technical changes to the complaint.
The complaint was originally filed in 2002 by Seattle attorney Steve W. Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, and alleges that drug manufacturers including AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN), Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), routinely inflate the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) they report to trade publications as part of a scheme to defraud consumers. The Average Wholesale Price is the average cost of a drug on the wholesale market.
According to Judge Saris' class certification order, issued on August 16, 2005, the redefined class will include all persons who received physician-administered drugs manufactured by the drug companies in question.
Steve Berman said that the judge's order was made with the expectation that the suit against the defendants will move to trial. "Once technical changes are made to the complaint, Judge Saris ruled she will certify the class and that charges against the defendants will move forward."
The complaint focuses on a range of often-expensive drugs administered in a clinical setting. These medications are used in the treatment of many types of cancer and other serious illnesses. The new proposed class will include thousands of patients who received such treatments.
Attorneys said that it will be important to demonstrate the large number of individuals included in the class. As the case moves forward, attorneys are urging all people who received certain physician-administered drugs to add their name to a growing list of potential plaintiffs.
"Once we prove that thousands, even millions of innocent people have been defrauded and forced to pay inflated prices for their medications, the drug companies will be forced to give an account," Berman said. "That's why it is essential that individuals who have received these drugs stand up and be counted."
The prescription drugs mentioned in the complaint include:
- Amphotericin B
- Tequin IV
All persons who have received treatment with any of the above drugs will be considered a part of the class and may be eligible for monetary restitution.
Potential class members can join the suit by contacting Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-443-9357.
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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices in ten cities. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List eight times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.