This blog has noted in prior entries that, although issues related to medical malpractice generally center on individual doctors and medical facilities, misconduct within the medical field can extend far beyond the boundaries of physician and hospital negligence or bad faith.
We are frequently reminded of that by routinely ongoing litigation against drug companies and medical device makers focused upon product liability, wrongful death and other matters.
The conduct of McKesson Corp. -- a major drug wholesaler -- is a case in point.
That company denies wrongdoing, but it does so in the face of a massive investigation by both federal and state agencies concluding that McKesson engaged in large-scale health care fraud for nearly a decade. Investigators say that McKesson knowingly and systematically overbilled Medicaid programs for more than 1,400 drugs from 2001 to 2009. Those medications ran the gamut, from Allegra and Lipitor to Prozac and Ritalin.
The result, say regulators, was this: McKesson reaped many millions of dollars in illegal gains through its outright defrauding of American taxpayers.
Now it's paying back, pursuant to a settlement reached with the federal government this past April and one just concluded with 29 states -- including Pennsylvania -- and the District of Columbia.
The federal government will recoup more than $187 million in its settlement with McKesson. The states' settlement will result in an outlay of $151 million.
The company is alleged to have purposefully inflated drug prices by margins of up to 25 percent.
Source: Wall Street Journal, "McKesson to pay $151M to settle drug-pricing suit," July 27, 2012