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AIDS Healthcare Foundation sues Bristol-Myers Squibb

The nonprofit group accuses pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. of overcharging for medication.

November 30, 2010|Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that treats people with HIV and AIDS around the world, has filed a lawsuit accusing pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. of overcharging for medication.

In the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, the group accused Bristol-Myers of failing to follow federal law that limited the amount it could charge certain groups — including charities treating people with HIV and AIDS. The lawsuit said Bristol-Myers overcharged the group more than $124,000 from January to June of this year.

Bristol Myers spokeswoman Sonia Choi said Monday that the company was reviewing the complaint and declined further comment.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation said it provides medicine, advocacy and care to more than 100,000 people with HIV and AIDS in 22 countries "regardless of their ability to pay." The group spent $121 million in 2009 on medical services, supplies and drugs, according to its annual statement.

The lawsuit, filed Nov. 24, seeks reimbursement of the alleged overpayment, plus interest and attorney fees. The lawsuit did not specify the medicines for which the charity was overcharged.

Bristol-Myers manufactures several medications used to treat people with HIV, including Reyataz and Sustiva. The company reported $18.8 billion in sales in 2009.

stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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