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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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