Mississippi Supreme Court upholds $30 million judgment against Sandoz in AWP litigation

Our firm has been serving as Special Counsel to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood for several years on the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) litigation and have recovered from 61 companies for the State of Mississippi more than $200 million to date, including a $30 million verdict against generic pharmaceutical giant Sandoz, Inc., back in 2011.

That verdict was appealed by Sandoz, Inc., and the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the verdict in full last October. Sandoz, Inc., asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to rehear the appeal last November, but on May 26, 2016, the court denied Sandoz’s rehearing request, effectively exhausting their last chance at an appeal.

General Hood applauded the Mississippi Supreme Court’s refusal to reconsider its October 2015 decision that affirmed the state’s $30 million verdict. “It is reassuring to know that when a big drug company like Sandoz cheats the taxpayers, justice will prevail,” Attorney General Hood said. “The court made the right decision to turn back a greedy corporation that focused on its own profits at the expense of the people of Mississippi.”

This case came to the Mississippi Supreme Court following a nine-day bench trial in Rankin County Chancery Court. Chancellor Tom Zebert concluded that Sandoz defrauded Mississippi and cost taxpayers $24 million when it reported Average Wholesale Prices, or AWPs, that grossly exceeded the actual prices Sandoz charged its customers.

Those manipulated prices caused the state to pay more for prescription drugs for Medicaid recipients. As a result of this fraud, the trial court awarded the state compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages.

The case against Sandoz was among dozens of similar cases brought against other drug companies that also manipulated their reported AWPs so that Mississippi paid too much for prescription drugs for Medicaid recipients.

Our firm represented eight states in this same litigation and recovered more than $1.5 billion in settlements and jury verdicts for the states. The AWP trial team was led by Dee Miles, with Roman Shaul, Clay Barnett, Ali Hawthorne, and Chad Stewart (1972-2014) assisting.

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