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PHARMA: Spitzer looks into Norvir pricing controversy

THCB readers will recall that last year Abbott radically increased the price of its HIV drug Norvir mostly in order to make competitors drugs taken with it more expensive than a combo pill it was launching. Well apparently NY state attorney-general Eliot Spitzer has already opened an inquiry into the issue and several New York state agencies and HIV pressure groups are piling in. In the most recent exchange, the New York Department of Health, which of course runs the biggest and most expensive Medicaid program in the US (yes, more than California’s!) wrote in a letter to an HIV group:

    "We have requested representatives from Abbott to present their documentation regarding this claim [that the price hike would not harm Medicaid programs], however we are not yet convinced that this is the case."

You may love the bureaucratic understatement, but the intent is clear and Spitzer has proved his ability to go after corporate "bad guys" enough that Abbott may have to tread carefully here.

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Jeremy

The real tragedy is that voters might fail to realize the hospital fight is being waged not by workers but by two millionares defending their greed-inflated salaries from Spitzer’s reforms. The head of the Greater New York Hospital Association was the man with the money behind the recently-pulled ads, who got the attention he wanted and is now sending workers to the front like so many puppets. Ask yourself: How often do real workers with a grievance have the money to blitzkrieg a newly appointed governor with TV ads? Why has it taken so little time to move from silence… Read more »