Friday, 10 26, 2012
Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
Attorney General Jack Conway today announced that Kentucky has joined with other states and the federal government to settle allegations that Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) paid kickbacks and engaged in off-label marketing campaigns to promote some of its drugs.
BIPI, a Connecticut based company, will pay the states and the federal government $95 million, of which $34,468,649 will go to the Medicaid programs, to resolve civil allegations that the company unlawfully marketed Aggrenox, Combivent, Atrovent and Micardis and thereby caused false claims to be submitted to the government health care programs. Under the settlement, Kentucky will receive nearly $811,000 in recoveries. After reimbursing the federal government for its share, Kentucky will retain more than $255,000 for reimbursement of the state Medicaid program.
Specifically, this settlement resolves allegations that BIPI unlawfully marketed these drugs for a variety of non-FDA approved indications, including Aggrenox for certain cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction and peripheral vascular disease; Combivent for use prior to another bronchodilator in treating Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; and Micardis for treatment of early diabetic kidney disease.
"Drug companies that market their products for off-label purposes are breaking the law and putting the public's health at risk," General Conway said. "I am pleased that Kentucky was able to participate in this settlement and that BIPI has agreed, as per a Corporate Integrity Agreement required under the settlement, not to engage in this type of deceptive behavior in the future."
Additionally, the settlement resolves allegations that BIPI knowingly promoted the sale and use of Combivent and Atrovent at doses that exceeded those covered by federal health care programs and that BIPI knowingly made unsubstantiated claims about the efficacy of Aggrenox, including that it was superior to Plavix. Finally, the agreement resolves allegations that the company paid kickbacks to health care professionals as inducement to prescribe.
The investigation resulted from a qui tam action originally filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland under the federal False Claims Act and various state false claims statutes.
A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (NAMFCU) Team participated in the investigation and conducted the settlement negotiations with BIPI on behalf of the states and included representatives from the Offices of the Attorneys General for the states of Ohio, Florida, Virginia, South Carolina and Oregon.
Since Attorney General Conway took office in January 2008, his Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control has recovered or been awarded more than $260 million for the state and federal Medicaid programs. These cases range from lawsuits and settlements against pharmaceutical companies to cases against individual providers.
The Attorney General's Tip Line for reporting allegations of Medicaid fraud is 1-877-228-7384.