A group of independent pharmacies filed a lawsuit against OptumRx alleging various unfair/illegal business practices, such as reimbursements below cost,  price manipulations, discriminatory treatment. Mark Cuker of the Jacobson Law Group filed the case in Pennsylvania and Illinois on behalf of independent pharmacies, and he is looking into filing a similar action in California.

This is not the first case filed by Mark, in which he represents the interest of independent pharmacies. In 2015, he filed a similar action against Catamaran for breach of contract and bad faith in setting prices for prescription drugs. Most of the pharmacies, however, had an arbitration clause in their contracts with Catamaran. Only one pharmacy had no arbitration clause and continued with the litigation.

Later in the proceedings, the Court found that the factual allegations were enough to establish a plausible claim that the MAC pricing appeals were not reasonable and were conducted “arbitrarily, capriciously, or in a manner inconsistent with the reasonable expectations of the parties.”

Subsequent to the court’s decision, the pharmacy added two additional claims against OptumRx: (1) setting reimbursement prices below acquisition costs; (2) failure to set a single reimbursement for similar drugs. The case is currently in its discovery stage.

The present 2020-case against Optum also alleges below-cost reimbursements, which are arbitrary and unilaterally set by Optum unrelated to the actual wholesale price. The lawsuit also alleges unfair business practices relating to (1) billing plans for brands but reimbursing pharmacies for generic; (2) paying independent pharmacies less than what it pays large chains or its own mail order pharmacy. We will continue covering the case as it advances through litigation.

Mark also plans to bring a similar action in California, which is a favorable forum due to our strong precedent on “Unfair Competition and Unfair Business Practices” litigation, as well as California’s MAC law. If you are interested in participating in such an action in California, please contact Mark Cuker at (215) 531-8522.