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The United States, as well as sixteen states, joined whistleblower lawsuits that claim Wyeth, a drug manufacturer that is being acquired by Pfizer Inc., avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars to consumers in rebates under the Medicaid program. The failed rebates involve the drugs Protonix Oral and Protonix IV, which are used to suppress stomach acid.

The states and Justice Department joined the lawsuit because they believe Wyeth did not pay hundreds of millions of dollars in rebates though it was required to grant the Medicaid program the same discount it offered to hospitals. Assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil division said Wyeth’s policy of offering massive discounts to hospitals, but then hiding information from the Medicaid program, caused the government to pay much more for the drugs than they should have. A spokesman for Wyeth, however, claims there were no mistakes in the pricing and the company will defend itself against these accusations.

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