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.