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[ATG] Indiana Medicaid to receive nearly $793K in Amgen settlement
Start Date: 12/19/2012Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 12/19/2012
Entry Description

 

INDIANAPOLIS – In the latest settlement of whistleblower lawsuits against a drug manufacturer, the State of Indiana will recover nearly $793,000 from pharmaceutical company Amgen, Inc. to resolve allegations that it defrauded Medicaid by illegally marketing its drugs and manipulating prices, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said today.

 

Amgen’s repayment to the Indiana Medicaid program is part of a larger $612 million civil settlement reached with other states and the federal government for the company’s defrauding Medicaid, Medicare and other healthcare programs by causing false claims to be submitted for reimbursement and then paid. The global settlement resolves 10 separate whistleblower lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act in federal courts around the nation. Amgen also agreed to plead guilty to a federal criminal charge of drug misbranding in violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

 

“The False Claims Act in state and federal law is a powerful tool because it allows a courageous whistleblower with knowledge of fraud against a government contract to file suit so that the government may investigate. If the government intervenes, at the end of the litigation the whistleblower can receive a portion of any financial recovery – and more importantly, the fraud is stopped and the program is reimbursed by the provider for tax dollars wrongly paid out,” Zoeller said.

 

Since January 2009, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Attorney General’s Office has participated in 19 settlements of whistleblower lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for illegal off-label marketing of prescription drugs. Those settlements have recovered a total $36.6 million for the Indiana Medicaid program.

 

The settlement with Amgen reached today resolves allegations in the whistleblower lawsuits of various illegal practices:

 

  • Amgen illegally marketed prescription drugs it manufactures, Aranesp, Enbrel and Neulasta, to physicians to prescribe them for off-label uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

 

  • Amgen offered and paid illegal kickbacks to physicians to select and prescribe its drugs Aranesp, Enbrel, Epogen, Neulasta, Neupogen and Sensibar to Medicaid recipients. For example, the kickbacks included offering doctors sham consulting agreements, paying them “honoraria” fees and sending them on retreats to encourage them to purchase and prescribe Aranesp for non-approved uses such as treating anemia caused by cancer.

 

  • Amgen caused ineligible claims for its drugs to be paid by Medicare and Medicaid. Among other things, Amgen submitted inaccurate price data for its prescription drugs to Medicaid resulting in ineligible reimbursement.

 

In the settlement of the whistleblower lawsuits, the states and federal government will share $612 million in civil settlements and penalties Amgen will pay, and the company also will plead guilty to a criminal charge of drug misbranding the U.S. Department of Justice filed. Whistleblowers who originally brought the lawsuits that the states and federal government joined will receive various percentages of the recovery.

 

The Indiana Medicaid program will recover $792,811.79 as its net state share of the settlement. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of Zoeller’s office served on the settlement team with five other states that negotiated the agreement with Amgen.

 

Under a public awareness effort called “Blow the Whistle on Fraud,” Zoeller and his deputy attorneys general from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit have given presentations to audiences of healthcare workers to familiarize them with their legal rights as whistleblowers under the False Claims Act. More information about whistleblower lawsuits is at this link: http://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2807.htm

 

Fraud against the Medicaid program can be reported to the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-382-1039.

 

 

-30-

Location Information:
State House
IN
Marion

Statewide
IN
Contact Information:
Name: Bryan Corbin
Phone: 317.233.3970
Email: Bryan.Corbin@atg.in.gov
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Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Family & Health
  • Law & Justice
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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