State may sue drug company over money lost in trading


The state will again consider whether it should pursue action against Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, a drug company accused of running a scheme that shielded it from competition and artificially boosted drug prices and sales.

The matter was discussed Wednesday at a Cabinet aides meeting before Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet meet next Tuesday. 

According to a staff analysis, the State Board of Administration (SBA) – which oversees the state’s investments – lost over $62 million in its purchases of Valeant shares in the midst of the alleged scheme.

If Scott and the Cabinet approve a resolution to file direct action against the company, the SBA could recover millions of dollars.

Maureen Hazen, the general counsel for the SBA, is recommending the agency opt out of a class action case against the pharmaceutical company.

Instead, she said, the state should file its own case in federal court in New Jersey. There’s more money in it for the state, Hazen argued.

“In my opinion, the SBA may be able to enhance its recovery above the class action recovery by double-digit millions of dollars,” Hazen said in a memorandum.

If the class action is pursued, however, the estimated recovery would be only about $390,000, according to the staff analysis.

The resolution has been presented to the Cabinet in the past, but Attorney General Pam Bondi asked for more time to review it.

Ana Ceballos

Ana covers politics and policy Before joining the News Service of Florida she wrote for the Naples Daily News and was the legislative relief reporter for The Associated Press and covered policy issues impacting immigration, the environment, criminal justice and social welfare in Florida. She holds a B.A. in journalism from San Diego State University. After graduating in 2014, she worked as a criminal justice reporter for the Monterey Herald and the Monterey County Weekly. She has also freelanced for The Washington Post at the U.S.-Mexico border covering crime in the border city of Tijuana, where she grew up. Ana is fluent in Spanish and has intermediate proficiency in Portuguese.


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