Ohio gets $6.5M in Bristol-Myers Squibb settlement

Columbus Business First

Ohio’s Medicaid program will receive more than $6.5 million from a September settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and its former subsidiary, Apothecon Inc., the Ohio Attorney General’s office said.

The state received 40 percent of the $15.6 million settlement awarded to Ohio from the global pharmaceutical company last year, while the federal government collected 60 percent, said Keesha Mitchell, assistant section chief of the Attorney General’s Medical Fraud Unit Control division.

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

“I’m pleased that this lengthy and complex case has now been resolved favorably to the states’ Medicaid programs,” John Guthrie, a lead negotiator for the Ohio Attorney General’s Health Care Fraud section, said in a release. “The outcome again demonstrates the commitment by the Ohio Attorney General’s office to aggressively pursue those who defraud the Ohio Medicaid program and recover dollars for an important program that is essential to Ohio’s neediest citizens.”

According to Attorney General’s office, the settlement addresses several allegations against Bristol-Myers (NYSE:BMY):

Reporting inflated prices for various prescription drugs.

Making illegal payments to physicians, health care providers and pharmacies in exchange for purchasing Bristol-Myers and Apothecon products.

Promoting the sale and use of Abilify, an antipsychotic drug, for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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

In 2007, Ohio’s Medicaid program, started in 1968, assisted 1.7 million Ohioans a month and about 2.2 million throughout the year. The $13.3 billion program, which takes up about a quarter of the state’s annual budget, serves children and adults in low-income Ohio families.


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