Lilly joins drugmakers probed by DOJ about PBMs

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Eli Lilly today said it has joined a growing list of pharma companies to be asked by the Justice Department to cough up info on relationships with pharmacy benefits managers, the companies that negotiate prices and set reimbursement conditions.

Deep in its quarterly report filed today with the SEC, Lilly said it has “received a civil investigative demand from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York requesting documents and information relating to our contracts with, services performed by and payments to pharmacy benefit managers.” It said it was cooperating with the investigation.

In an email, Eli Lilly declined to comment beyond its filing.

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It has not been clear what exactly the DOJ is looking for, although in the past drugmakers such as Novartis ($NVS) and AstraZeneca ($AZN) have agreed to pay fines and penalties to settle allegations they had offered a quid pro quo to PBMs for preferred formulary status.

Last fall, Valeant disclosed it had received a DOJ inquiry about its financial support to patients, drug distribution and pricing decisions, followed in March by a similar disclosure from Horizon Pharma ($HZNP). But that was Valeant and Horizon, whose relationships with closely related specialty pharmacies seemed to draw special interest.

Then in a series of financial filings in May, it became clear that whatever the DOJ was hoping to find, it was looking for throughout the industry. Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) Merck & Co. and Endo International all said they were being asked for info.

J&J, whose Janssen unit was the one to receive the demand for information, didn’t specify which drugs might be involved. But Merck said investigators asked it for information on payments related to the migraine drug Maxalt and the erectile dysfunction drug Levitra from 2006 to the present. In the case of Endo, the U.S. Attorney’s office demand info on PBM contracts covering Frova, also a migraine drug.

here’s the Lilly filing

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