|April 17, 2013
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.– Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced that Florida has joined with other attorneys general and the federal government to reach a global settlement totaling $24.9 million with Amgen, Inc. The settlement resolves allegations that Amgen defrauded various federal programs and state Medicaid programs by engaging in the illegal promotion of its anemia drug, Aranesp, including the payment of kickbacks and a coordinated effort to misbrand and off-label market the drug to nursing homes or long term care facilities. The state Medicaid portion of the settlement is $14.7 million. Florida will receive more than $207,000 as part of this Medicaid settlement.
“We will not allow any company to exploit the vulnerable residents of nursing homes and long term care facilities in order to defraud the Medicaid program,” said Attorney General Bondi.
According to the Medicaid fraud investigation, the institutional pharmacies Omnicare and PharMerica approached Amgen to give them extra rebates on the drug Aranesp. In return, Omnicare and PharMerica agreed to promote Aranesp in the “Therapeutic Interchange” programs implemented in the nursing homes they served, which meant inducing medical professionals to switch patients from Procrit to Aranesp.
The settlement is the result of a joint investigation by the United States Department of Justice and representatives from several state Medicaid Fraud Control Units across the nation.