AG Gansler Secures Settlement from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Company pays $95 million to resolve Medicaid fraud allegations; Maryland receives nearly $300,000
Baltimore, MD ( Oct. 26, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Maryland, joined by other states and the federal government, has secured a $95 million settlement agreement from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI). The settlement resolves allegations that the company paid kickbacks and engaged in off-label marketing campaigns that improperly promoted four drugs: Atrovent, Combivent, Micardis and Aggrenox. The Maryland Medicaid program will receive $286,308.50 from the settlement.
"This reprehensible conduct puts patients at risk and rips off the taxpayer," said Attorney General Gansler. "When we're able to take away the financial incentive for such behavior, we get closer to making sure it isn't repeated."
BIPI, a Connecticut-based company, will pay $95 million in restitution and other penalties. The settlement resolves civil allegations that BIPI unlawfully marketed the drugs for a variety of uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Specifically, Aggrenox was marketed for certain cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) 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.
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. BIPI also 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 an inducement to prescribe certain products.
As a condition of the settlement, BIPI will enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, which will closely monitor the company's future marketing and sales practices.
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.
In making the announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Chief Investigative Auditor Ruth Jarrell for her work on this matter.