State plans lawsuit against drug firms

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

By SETH BLOMELEY

Attorney General Dustin Mc-Daniel told lawmakers Friday he’s planning a lawsuit against three major pharmaceutical manufacturers over a “marketing scheme” for anti-psychotic drugs paid for by the state Medicaid program.

Some taking the drugs shouldn’t have been given them and have developed side effects, he said.

McDaniel told the Legislative Council he could seek as much as $ 600 million for the state and that he’s taking the unusual step of contracting with a private law firm to take the lead in the litigation. He said the firm, Bailey Perrin Bailey LLP of Houston, will bear all the expenses and its fee will be 15 percent of the award.

“It’s extraordinarily reasonable for the quality of work we’re going to get,” McDaniel said. “This particular matter is so large that frankly the AG’s office could not handle it internally. If [the suit ] is not successful we don’t owe a dollar.”

He said the firm is handling similar litigation for six other states.

A national coalition of about 30 state attorneys general is involved in a similar investigation of anti-psychotic drug marketing but McDaniel said he declined to join that effort because he feared Arkansas would “be lost in the shuffle.”…

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