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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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