Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Key players implicated in scheme to boost generic drug profits

From the Globe and Mail:
Many of the largest players in Canada's generic drug industry have been implicated in an illegal scheme that involved wholesalers and pharmacies collecting inflated rebates by selling the same product over and over.

The Ontario government yesterday ordered seven of Canada's largest generic drug makers, four wholesalers and a retail pharmacy to reimburse the province a total of $33.8-million - the amount it alleges that patients were overcharged for generic prescription drugs.

"It's a multimillion-dollar abuse of the system," assistant deputy health minister Helen Stevenson said at a news conference yesterday.

The government alleges that wholesalers and retailers bought more drugs than they needed and resold the excess among themselves, collecting a rebate or "professional allowance" from the manufacturer on each transaction.

"We call that drug recycling," Ms. Stevenson said.

The full extent of the problem will not be known until the government completes forensic audits of other industry players, including retail pharmacies, she said. ...more

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