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Drugmaker settlement nets state $793K

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Indiana will collect $793,000 in reimbursement to the Medicaid program as part of a nationwide settlement of claims that the pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. illegally marketed drugs, offered doctors kickbacks and submitted ineligible claims for payment.

The Indiana settlement is carved from a $612 million settlement Amgen reached with other states and the federal government to resolve 10 whistleblower suits claiming the company was defrauding Medicaid and Medicare along with other health care programs, according to a statement Wednesday from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

Whistleblower suits that were settled alleged that Amgen:

  • Illegally marketed its prescription drugs Aranesp, Enbrel and Neulasta to physicians to prescribe them for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration;
  • Offered and paid doctors illegal kickbacks to prescribe Aranesp, Enbrel, Epogen, Neulasta, Neupogen and Sensibar to Medicaid recipients; and
  • 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.

Amgen also agreed to plead guilty to a criminal charge of drug misbranding, the statement said.

Whistleblower statutes in Indiana and most other states allow those who initiate complaints of criminal wrongdoing involving public funds to share a percentage of the total recovered. “More importantly, the fraud is stopped and the program is reimbursed by the provider for tax dollars wrongly paid out,” Zoeller said

The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of Zoeller’s office served on the settlement team with five other states that negotiated the agreement with Amgen, according to the statement.

Zoeller and deputy attorneys general from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit have given presentations to health care workers to familiarize them with their legal rights as whistleblowers under Indiana’s False Claims Act.

Fraud against the Medicaid program can be reported to the attorney general’s office at 800-382-1039.

Read more about the work agencies are doing to prevent and address Medicaid and Medicare fraud in the Jan. 2, 2013, issue of Indiana Lawyer.

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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