Monthly Archives: July 2008

Oklahoma gets $1.37M in Abilify settlement

The Oklahoman

The state of Oklahoma has received $1.37 million as part of a settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb in a case in which it allegedly overcharged state and federal medical programs.

Oklahoma’s share was part of a $389 million settlement that the drug company paid to 43 states, the District of Columbia and federal government, said Charlie Price, spokesman for the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office.

“The issue was that they had inflated prices for drugs that were purchased by the state and federal Medicaid programs,” Price said. “We got the check two or three weeks ago.”

Most of the settlement money went to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to reimburse it for the overcharges, Price said. The Attorney General’s office received a share that represented the civil penalties that Bristol-Meyers Squibb paid.

The largest share of the overall settlement, about 70 percent, went to the federal government, Price said.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Drug companies set to pay Montana over Antipsychotic Abilify


Billings Gazette

HELENA – The state of Montana has received about $295,000 as part of a national settlement with a pharmaceutical company and its former subsidiary to resolve complaints of illegal drug marketing and pricing of prescription drugs paid by state Medicaid programs.

It is a part of a $389 million national settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and its former subsidiary, Apothecon Inc.

The lawsuit was filed by 43 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government. Montana has been part of the lawsuit since 1995, said Judy Beck, a spokeswoman for the state Justice Department.

Montana’s $295,091 will go to the state Medicaid program run by the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, Beck said. Medicaid is the federal-state program that pays medical bills for the poor.

The settlement addresses allegations that Bristol-Myers Squibb engaged in some improper marketing and pricing practices, including:

• Reporting inflated prices for some prescription drugs, knowing that Medicaid and various federal health care programs would use these prices to buy drugs from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Apothecon.

• Illegally paying physicians, health care providers and pharmacies to induce them to buy these products.

• Promoting the sale and use of Abilify, an antipsychotic drug, for children and for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis.

The federal Food and Drug Administration has not approved these uses.

• Misreporting sales for an antidepressant called Serzone, which led to improper reduction of the amount of rebates paid to state Medicaid programs.

In addition, Bristol-Myers Squibb signed a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, requiring the company to accurately report its average sales prices and average manufacturers’ prices in the future.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Utah Gets $2 Million From Drug Company’s Cheating

KUTV
By Doug G. Ware

SALT LAKE CITY – A drug company has been forced to pay Utah more than $2 million stemming from a series of illegal actions it made, officials said.

Bristol-Myers Squibb recently reached a settlement over its illegal activities with 43 states, including Utah. In all, the drug company must pay $389 million to the states affected. Utah will get $2,169,933 of that amount.

According to authorities, the company orchestrated a series of illegal marketing and pricing schemes for its prescription drugs. For example, Bristol-Myers Squibb made illegal payments to physicians, health care providers and pharmacies to entice them to buy their products.

Also, officials say, the company reported inflated prices for its prescription drugs so Medicaid and other federal health care programs would have to pay more for the drugs.

“$2 million will go a long way to help care for people who rely on Medicaid,” said Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. “Drug company chiefs should learn a lesson from Bristol-Myers Squibb, that they will pay dearly for cheating consumers and taxpayers.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb is also accused of misreporting sales prices of an antidepressant, Serzone, in order to reduce rebate payments to state Medicaid programs.

The $389 million settlement reimburses the federal government and participating states for the excessive money paid by Medicaid programs, that resulted from Bristol-Myers Squibb’s misconduct.

“We see many cases where drug companies skirt the law and game the system,” said Robert Steed, director of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, who represented Utah in this case. “Hopefully, the industry will take notice.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

$7.1 million given to Virginia in Abilify Scam

Roanoke Times
By Sarah Bruyn Jones

Virginia has received nearly $7.1 million from Bristol-Meyers Squibb as part of a larger multistate settlement over allegations of Medicaid fraud and illegal kickbacks.

The state received $4.2 million July 15 and transferred it to the Department of Medical Assistance Services, which administers Medicaid for the state, according to the state Attorney General’s Office. The remainder of the money is the federal government’s share of the settlement involving Virginia.

Virginia is one of 43 states to get a piece of the $389 million settlement to compensate Medicaid programs that were overcharged for prescriptions.

The states and the Department of Justice accused the drug company of inflating prices to get more money out of Medicaid programs, and illegally paying physicians and pharmacies to use its products. Additionally, the government accused the company’s former subsidiary Apothecon Inc. of promoting the unapproved use of the antipsychotic drug Abilify for pediatric use and for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis in the elderly. Abilify was approved last year for teen use.

While individual payments to the states are just now rolling in, the settlement was announced by the Justice Department in September.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Tennessee gets $3.5M from Bristol Meyers Squibb settlement

Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee is getting $3.5 million of a $389 million settlement from drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and its former subsidiary, Apothecon Inc., the Tennessee Attorney General’s office said Monday.

The National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units reported in July that 43 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government settled with New York-based Bristol-Myers for $389 million plus interest. The settlement resolved allegations of illegal drug marketing and pricing of prescription medications paid by the states’ Medicaid programs.

“This is a significant case, and we hope this will lead to better practices and greater accountability in this segment of the heatlhcare industry,” Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper said in a statement.

According to Attorney General’s office, the settlement addresses several allegations involving more than a dozen drugs against Bristol-Myers, including:

– Reporting inflated prices for various prescription drugs;

– Paying illegal remuneration to physicians, health care providers, and pharmacies to induce them to purchase BMS and Apothecon products;

– Promoting the sale and use of Abilify, an antipsychotic drug, for pediatric use and for treatment of dementia-related psychosis, uses which the federal Food and Drug Administration has not approved; and

– Misreporting sales prices for Serzone, an antidepressant, resulting in the improper reduction of the amount of rebates paid to the state Medicaid programs.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wyoming gets share of Abilify Scam settlement

Casper Star-Tribune
By JOAN BARRON

CHEYENNE — Wyoming is one of 43 states sharing in a $389 million settlement between the federal government and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company to resolve claims of illegal drug marketing and prescription prices paid by Medicaid.

The State of Wyoming received $554,320.39 in state and federal money from the settlement amount. The Wyoming share was $213,943.44, according to an announcement from the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

The money will go into the state’s general fund, a spokesperson for the Wyoming Department of Health said Friday.

The settlement resolves allegations that Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) and its former wholly owned subsidiary, Apothecon, Inc., reported inflated prices for various prescription drugs used by Medicaid and paid illegal remuneration to physicians, health care providers and pharmacies to induce them to purchase BMS and Apothecon products, the release said.

Other allegations were the company promoted sales and use of Abilify, an antipsychotic drug for pediatric use and treatment of dementia-related psychosis, uses which the Federal Food and Drug Administration has not approved, and also misinterpreted sales prices for Serzone, an anti-depressant, which resulted in improper reduction of the amount of rebates paid to the state Medicaid programs.

A team from the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units participated in the investigation and represented the states’ interests in the settlement negotiations. Team members include Unit Directors from Ohio and Vermont as well as Assistant Attorneys General from Massachusetts, New York, and New Mexico.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Iowa gets $1.9 million drugs settlement

Des Moines Register
By TONY LEYS

The state of Iowa has received $1.9 million from a national pharmaceutical company that was accused of fraud.

Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed last fall to pay a total of $515 million to settle federal and state allegations of misconduct. David Werning, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, said the state received its share last week.

The allegations included that the New York-based company gave physicians improper incentives to prescribe its drugs, and that it marketed the anti-psychotic drug Abilify for use in children and for people with dementia, even though those uses were not approved.

The company also was accused of overcharging state Medicaid programs for the anti-depression medicine Serzone.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized