Arizona Sues Mckesson Alleging It Inflated Drug Prices

McKesson Corp. (MCK), the largest U.S. drug distributor, was accused by Arizona in a lawsuit of artificially inflating prices for 400 medicines including Allegra, Celebrex, Lipitor and Flonase.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said in an e-mail that the practice cost consumers millions of dollars. In a complaint that Horne said was filed Sept. 14 in state court, Arizona said McKesson raised the spread between published average drug wholesale prices and actual acquisition costs to increase its pharmacy clients’ profits. Those costs were passed along to third-party payors and consumers, Horne said.

The state seeks fines of $10,000 per violation of consumer protection laws and restitution. The filing couldn’t be independently confirmed in court records.

Kris Fortner, a spokesman for San Francisco-based McKesson, didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail message seeking comment on the lawsuit.

In July, McKesson reached a $151 million settlement with states over claims it caused Medicaid programs to pay too much for prescription drugs.

The case is Arizona v. McKesson, Maricopa County Superior Court.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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