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Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to Pay $89,700 to MaineCare Program in Healthcare Fraud Settlement
October 26, 2012
Drug Company to Pay $34 Million to States to Resolve Kickback and Marketing Claims
AUGUSTA – Attorney General William J. Schneider announced that on October 25, 2012 Maine, as part of a national settlement against Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI), resolved allegations that BIPI paid kickbacks and engaged in off-label marketing campaigns that improperly promoted four drugs: Atrovent, Combivent, Micardis and Aggrenox. BIPI, a Connecticut based company, will pay the states and the federal government $95 million, of which $34,468,649 will go to the Medicaid programs to resolve civil allegations that the company unlawfully marketed the drugs Aggrenox, Combivent, Atrovent and Micardis and thereby caused false claims to be submitted to the government healthcare programs.
The Medicaid program is funded jointly by the federal and state governments. As part of the settlement with the states, the Maine Medicaid program will receive $89,720.
The settlement resolves allegations that BIPI unlawfully marketed these drugs for a variety of non-FDA approved indications, including Aggrenox for certain cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction 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 and that BIPI 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 healthcare professionals as inducement to prescribe.
“The State paid for claims that were based on false representations about efficacy, medically-accepted indications, and cost effectiveness of treatment,” said Attorney General Schneider. “Through this settlement, MaineCare will receive restitution for those excessive payments.”
As a condition of the settlement, BIPI will enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement 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. Maine was represented by a national settlement team comprised of members from the Offices of the Attorneys General for the States of Ohio, Florida, Virginia, South Carolina and Oregon.
Assistant Attorney General Michael Miller, Director of the Healthcare Crimes Unit, handled this matter for Attorney General Schneider’s Criminal Division.
The Healthcare Crimes Unit is the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for the State of Maine charged with investigating and prosecuting financial fraud and other crimes committed by MaineCare providers or their employees, and investigating and prosecuting abuse, neglect or exploitation of elderly and dependent persons that occurs in health care facilities or by healthcare providers.
To learn more about the Office of the Attorney General Healthcare Crimes Unit, go to: http://www.maine.gov/ag/crime/crimesweprosecute/healthcare_crimes.shtml