By: Steve Dellar | 10-02-2017 | News
Photo credit: Roman Tiraspolsky | Dreamstime

Pfizer Loses Lawsuit Against Texas

Pfizer has learned the hard way that there is a new reality for pharmaceutical companies wanting to do business like before.

When a local Texas Commission responsible for Health and Human Services last year provided two state lawmakers with details about pharmaceutical companies’ pricing rates for the Texas Medicaid program, Pfizer was not too happy about it.

They claimed that by providing this information to lawmakers, their New-York based company would no longer be able to negotiate better deals as this would probably mean their cost rates would be known all across the country.

At the time, Republican Senator Charles Schwertner of Georgetown had asked for the data. But in response, Pfizer sued the State of Texas for breach of confidentiality.

In other words, the company that provides the US with Viagra, Chantix, Effexor, Advil, Dimetapp and other drugs wants to keep its contract information with the state of Texas secret so it can charge possible higher prices to other states. Until the ruling would be settled, the commission was not allowed to provide the data to lawmakers.

A judge however, ruled in favour of the State of Texas.

Judge Lee Yeakel of the Western District of Texas concluded that the Commission for Health and Human services had done nothing wrong.

In the court documents provided, Judge Yeakel wrote: “In Pfizer's view, legislators are not necessary to carry out the state's Medicaid program.” The judge did not agree to this view. According to him, it is absolutely appropriate for legislators to have the cost date of drug makers so they can “exercise meaningful oversight” over the Medicaid program, i.e. make sure that the pharmaceutical companies do not try to wrangle a profit out of the state they are not entitled to.

“The court will not construe to carry out so narrowly as to prevent the Commission charged with administering the state's Medicaid program from disclosing information that could affect state budgeting to the body which created it,” the judge wrote.


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