FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 28, 2020
Salt Lake City, UT – Today, Alliance for a Better Utah submitted a price gouging complaint with the Utah Department of Consumer Protection against Meds in Motion. The complaint, which can be found here, outlines the $800,000 sale of antimalarial drugs to the State of Utah by Meds in Motion, owned by Dan Richards.
“The people of Utah deserve to have this matter investigated,” said Chase Thomas, executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah. “As if price gouging wasn’t bad enough, price gouging of an unproven drug during a pandemic in a transaction that uses public funds is truly beyond the pale. The public trust is at stake here, and Meds in Motion and Dan Richards must be held accountable if they are found to have used this crisis to pad their pockets.”
According to reports, the State of Utah paid $40 for each course of treatment of the drugs. Robert Gehrke, with the Salt Lake Tribune, reported over the weekend that this is around a 600% price increase from usual prices for the medication.
“If the Department of Consumer Protection finds that Meds in Motion engaged in price gouging, we hope appropriate action will be taken,” Thomas continued. “Irresponsible and abusive business practices must not be allowed to continue, and especially not ones that take advantage of a public health crisis.”
During a declared state of emergency, Utah law prohibits price gouging. The Department of Commerce website says, “Price gouging occurs when, during a declared state of emergency, a seller increases the prices of goods, services or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair.”
In mid-March, the office of Utah’s Attorney General asked Utahns to submit tips about price gouging during the COVID-19 crisis to the Department of Consumer Protection.
Alliance for a Better Utah is a nonprofit that holds politicians accountable and advocates for progressive policies that make Utah an even better place. The organization improves the lives of all Utahns through advocacy, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.