McKesson agrees to settle drug pricing complaints

Times Wire Reports

McKesson Corp. agreed to pay $350 million to settle claims it fraudulently inflated the price of more than 400 prescription drugs.

McKesson, the largest U.S. medicine distributor, will also set aside $143 million to settle claims from federal and state health programs. The settlement and the reserve will result in an after-tax charge of $311 million, or $1.14 a share, in the current quarter, the company said. It admitted no wrongdoing.

The claims stem from 2005 lawsuits by the New England Carpenters Health Benefits Fund and other plaintiffs accusing San Francisco-based McKesson of conspiring with Hearst Corp.'s First DataBank, a drug-price publisher, to push up the amount pharmacies pocket on drugs and to increase the wholesaler’s share of the business.