Vermont gets $821,000 in drug settlement

Boston Globe

MONTPELIER, Vt.—The state of Vermont got a check for $318,963 on Tuesday from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. as part of a national settlement of allegations of Medicaid fraud and illegal drug marketing practices, an official said.

The payout is Vermont’s share of a $515 million settlement announced in September, according to Bristol-Myers.

Several states and the U.S. Department of Justice accused the New York-based drug developer of inflating prescription drug prices to get more money out of Medicaid programs, illegally paying physicians and health care providers to use its products, and promoting the unapproved use of the anti-psychotic drug Abilify.

The September settlement involved the Justice Department and the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Units, which represents the states interests in the program.

“This case should send a message to other pharmaceutical companies that the government will not tolerate the drug companies engaging in potentially dangerous off-label marketing efforts, mis-reporting their drug prices, and misleading the government into paying inflated prices for their drugs,” said Linda Purdy, director of the state of Vermont’s Medicaid fraud unit, who helped negotiate the settlement.

Vermont’s state and federal share was for a total of $821,000, said Purdy. Since the federal government pays about 60 percent of Vermont’s Medicaid costs, most of the money went to the federal government, Purdy said. Of the total, $318,963 went directly to the state, she said.

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