If you understand the current interplay between Average Wholesale Price (AWP), ingredient cost, discounts off AWP given by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and other elements that go into drug pricing, please give me a call as the more I learn, it is apparent the less that I know.
However, I do know one thing: any mother or father who shops in a supermarket would understand the basic cost of salt and sugar. I would bet that if you walked into any supermarket in the country and asked any individual, regardless of their native language, they would come within $3.00 of guessing the price of the appropriate cost of a pound of sugar or a pound of salt.
Imagine how shocked anyone would be to learn that Baxter International was selling “bags” of salt and sugar to Medicaid according to a lawsuit filed by the State of Louisiana. Now, admittedly, the “bag” of salt and the “bag” of sugar sold to Medicaid were actually in the form of a saline solution and a dextrose solution. The solutions were provided in intravenous drip bags. The drip bags are more difficult to produce than buying salt or sugar off the shelf, however, not terribly difficult.
In a study, the Department of Justice determined that the appropriate AWP for a dextrose solution (sugar) would be around $2.75 a bag. The AWP for a saline solution (salt) was $1.71 per bag. The lawsuit in Louisiana alleges that Baxter International charged $928.51 per bag for saline and dextrose.
It is truly amazing that these simple solutions of readily available products can be subject to such an overcharge. However, it is the current state of our health care system.
The lawsuit was brought against many defendants for overcharges to the Louisiana health care system. We cannot be sure as to whether or not New Jersey has brought any such action or participated in the settlement of national claims.
It might be interesting to look and see how the State of New Jersey’s participation in these lawsuits may have resulted in a recovery of monies that could offset the current budget deficit.
If you are aware of overcharges made to the State or Federal Government, you may be entitled to a reward as a “relator”. Contact a qualified New Jersey Whistleblower lawyer to discuss your information.
Related Web Sources:
$928 for a Bag of Salt: How Drugmakers Rip Off Taxpayers (By Jim Edwards)