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More MS news articles for September 2003

Teva says Copaxone gaining in France; dismisses US lawsuit

The company said it had “meritorious defenses” to charges in the USthat generic drug makers inflated prices

25 September, 2003
Globes Online

Teva and its European marketing partner Aventis announced this morning that Copaxone, Teva’s drug for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), was now widely available throughout France.

The announcement came after The Wall Street Journal reported Teva was one of thirteen generic companies facing a lawsuit in the US for allegedly inflating the prices of medicines paid for by the State of Massachusetts' Medicaid program.

Referring to the expanded coverage of Copaxone in France, Aventis Pharma vice chairman Olivier Jacquesson explained, "Until now, Copaxone was limited to hospital use. Now it can be dispatched through pharmacies which will benefit and provide hope to all people living with RRMS."

Teva president and CEO Israel Makov said, “France has the second largest prevalence of multiple sclerosis in Europe, with approximately 50,000 people diagnosed with the disease, approximately half of them suffering from RRMS. We are confident that the launch in France will mirror the success in the rest of Europe, where Copaxone is gaining significant market share."

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report stated that the Massachusetts attorney general planned to file a lawsuit Thursday alleging that 13 major generic drug makers, including Teva, inflated the prices of medicines paid for by the state’s Medicaid program.

The complaint alleges that the fraudulent pricing schemes caused the state to overpay for generic drugs by $50 million over the past several years, the report added.

The WSJ report noted that other states, including Texas, California and New York, have brought cases against brand- and generic-drug makers alleging price manipulation. But this lawsuit, according to the Massachusetts attorney general, would be the first comprehensive examination of pricing abuses in the generic-drug sector.

Teva said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange this morning that it was “well aware of its obligations under the federal and state Medicaid and Medicare rules and regulations, including adherence to rebate agreements, and has an ongoing program designed to ensure compliance with all such applicable rules and regulations.”

The Teva statement continued, “Teva believes that it has meritorious defenses to the charges against it and intends to vigorously defend against this action.”

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