Class-action AWP suits awaiting final settlements

September 26, 2007

Inflated average wholesale prices issued by two publishers have resulted in high costs for consumers, who have filed class-action suits against them.

Two groups that have filed class-action suits against First DataBank (FDB) and Medi-Span for publishing inflated average wholesale prices in their printed and electronic databases have received preliminary approval from the court for two proposed settlements. The suits were filed by the New England Carpenters Health Benefits Fund against FDB and by D.C. 37 Health & Security Plan against Medi-Span. McKesson was also named in the litigation but is not a party to the settlement. As part of the proposed settlement, FDB and Medi-Span will, among other measures, reduce the markup on the drugs in their publications and stop publishing AWPs within two or three years of final approval of the settlements. Both FDB and Medi-Span have denied any wrongdoing, claiming that their drug prices are provided by others. The court is scheduled to hold a final approval hearing on Jan. 22, 2008. According to the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, Jeffrey Kodroff of Spector Roseman & Kodroff P.C. and Thomas M. Sobol of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, the settlements will result in millions of dollars of savings in future prescription costs for consumers. The National Community Pharmacists Association opposes the proposed settlements on the grounds that third-party payers have already been decreasing their reimbursements to pharmacies. If FDB and Medi-Span reduce their markups and payers continue to trim their payments to pharmacies, it could devastate community pharmacies. More information about the suits can be found at