Rockford, Illinois News

Company City of Rockford is suing files for bankruptcy protection

ROCKFORD — The pharmaceutical company the City of Rockford is suing over the cost of an epilepsy drug has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The filing puts a stay on the class-action suit brought in 2017 against Mallinckrodt, a maker of pharmaceuticals and generic drugs. A bankruptcy committee will now decide how the company’s creditors will be paid.

In 2015, two children of employees of the City of Rockford were diagnosed with rare infant epilepsy disorders. The best treatment of this life endangering condition is the drug H.P. Acthar Gel, which cost just $40 a vial in 2001. By 2015, Mallinckrodt, together with pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, increased the price to more than $34,000 per vial. Mallinckrodt now charges more than $46,000 per vial, an increase of more than 100,000% since 2001.

In April 2017, Rockford sued Mallinckrodt and Express Scripts for antitrust violations. Rockford’s lawsuit seeks to return more than $10 billion to other cities, counties, and health plans who are part of the complaint.

Earlier this month, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara provided a statement to the U.S. House Oversight Committee as part of its investigation of Mallinckrodt. The Oversight Committee’s 42-page report found that without significant structural reforms companies like Mallinckrodt will continue to raise prices on critical lifesaving medications.

“We think it’s imperative that the City of Rockford have a seat at the table during the bankruptcy proceedings,” said Mayor Tom McNamara. “We have led this fight for the last three years, and we will continue to do so until companies like Mallinckrodt stop getting rich on the backs of taxpayers and at the peril of our youngest citizens.”

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