BCBS Vermont accuses Teva of driving up MS drug prices

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Teva Pharmaceuticals of acting anticompetitively to force health insurers to pay billions of dollars for its "excessively priced" multiple sclerosis drug, Copaxone, Law Street Media reported Aug. 22. 

The payer alleges in the proposed class-action lawsuit that the price of Copaxone was first sold for $769.25 in 1997 and had risen to  $5,832 by 2017.

BCBS also accuses Teva of abusing patent litigation to "artificially prolong Copaxone's patent  exclusivity and block lower-cost generics from entering the market," according to the report. 

According to BCBS, Teva manipulated "the prescribing decisions of doctors, the product selection decisions of pharmacists, the drug prioritization and formulary decisions of pharmacy benefit managers, and the purchasing decisions of health plan members.". This caused Copaxone to be prescribed and sold instead of generic competitors.

BCBS alleges that Teva kept the price to the end user of Copoxone competitive by providing coupons that reduced cost-sharing obligations, while keeping the drug fully priced for insurers, according to the report. 

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