A jury hit AstraZeneca with $215 million in damages as paybacks for overcharging the state of Alabama for drugs for 15 years. And AstraZeneca is just the first of 70 drug makers to go to trial. In 2005, Attorney General Troy King sued scores of pharma companies over Medicaid prices, and has settled with only two--Dey and Takeda Pharmaceuticals--which agreed to pay $6.75 million.
AstraZeneca says it's appealing the decision posthaste. The court allowed evidence from earlier pricing settlements "in clear violation of the rules of evidence," the company says. Plus, AstraZeneca claims, trial lawyers and state officials prejudiced potential jurors by making "negative public comments" before jury selection.