|October 15, 2014
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi, 49 other attorneys general and the federal government reached a $31 million settlement with Organon, a drug manufacturing company, to settle allegations that the company underpaid rebates to the Florida Medicaid program, offered improper financial incentives to nursing home pharmacy companies, promoted its antidepressants for unapproved uses and misrepresented its drug prices. Organon’s headquarters are in Oss, Netherlands, and the company’s assets are now owned by Merck. Florida’s net share of the total settlement amounts to more than $483,000.
The settlement resolves allegations that Organon:
- · Underpaid rebates to Florida’s Medicaid program by not including rebates and discounts in its best price reporting. The federal Medicaid Drug Rebate Program requires that all drug manufacturers that supply products to Medicaid recipients provide Medicaid the benefit of the “best price” available for that product;
· Offered nursing home pharmacy companies market share discounts and rebates to encourage the use of Remeron and Remeron SolTab over competing antidepressants, which violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and resulted in the submission of false claims to Florida’s Medicaid program;
· Promoted the sale and use of antidepressants Remeron and Remeron SolTab for conditions that were not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration. Specifically, Organon marketed drug side effects as possible benefits and promoted the use of Remeron in children and adolescents; and
· Reported false and inflated prices to Florida’s Medicaid program, then offered the drugs at a lower cost as a financial inducement to nursing home pharmacy companies by increasing the “spread” between the actual cost of the drug to pharmacies versus the amount that the Medicaid reimburses for the drugs.
Since January 2011, Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has obtained more than $460 million in settlements, judgments and court orders.