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UnitedHealth sued over alleged scheme to overcharge customers for prescription drugs

UnitedHealthGroup Inc. customers have filed a class-actioncomplaint against the insurer for extracting payments for prescription drugsbeyond the drugs' actual cost.

According to the complaint, UnitedHealth would instructpharmacies to charge customers a copayment beyond the drug's cost, then collectthe spread between the two prices.

Since the insurer was already compensated for providing drugbenefits through the premiums paid by customers, "their taking ofadditional, undisclosed Spread compensation was improper and illegal under [theEmployee Retirement Income Security Act] and [the Racketeering Influenced andCorrupt Organizations Act]," the complaint states.

The complaint was filed in a Minnesota federal court. AnnaMohr, Samantha Sohmer and Charles Wiltsie are the lead plaintiffs on behalf ofthe class.

The complaint seeks treble damages for the plaintiffs andnationwide class, plus legal fees and expenses. A jury trial has been demanded.

UnitedHealth did not respond to a request for comment.