Health insurance companies battle over prescription drug costs

Thousands of Maryland residents rely on health insurance provided by Anthem and prescription drug coverage from Express Scripts, but they may not be aware that these two leading health care companies are embroiled in a contentious legal battle. The first shots were fired in March when Anthem sued Express Scripts for $15 billion, but the Missouri-based pharmacy benefit company fired back on April 19 by filing a lawsuit of its own.

The two companies are involved in a contract dispute over the cost of prescription drugs. Anthem’s CEO says that he tried to negotiate a better deal for his company in January seeking savings of up to $3 billion a year. Anthem claims that it is entitled to a percentage of the savings earned by Express Script from negotiating more advantageous deals with drug makers.

The Express Scripts lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, refutes the claims made by Anthem and accuses the health insurance provider of attempting to rewrite a valid and binding contract. Express Scripts says that better terms were presented to Anthem on five occasions in 2015 and 2016 that offered the Indiana-based company annual savings ranging from $2 billion to $2.8 billion.

Experienced business law attorneys may urge their clients to resolve contract disputes amicably whenever possible. This kind of litigation can be both expensive and time consuming, and court proceedings can be unpredictable. Attorneys may also help their clients to avoid such disagreements in the first place by closely reviewing contracts before they are signed and identifying vague language or unfair provisions that may need to be rewritten or removed.

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