Attorney General Conway announced today that Kentucky joined with all other states and the federal government in reaching an agreement with Warner Chilcott PLC (“Warner Chilcott”), a pharmaceutical company with U.S. headquarters in New Jersey, to resolve civil and criminal allegations that the company paid kickbacks to induce the prescribing of nine of its drugs, and falsified health program coverage paperwork to ensure federal and state reimbursement.
“Reckless promotion of drugs resulting in false claims to state and national healthcare programs is unacceptable,” said Attorney General Jack Conway. “Drug companies that exploit Kentucky taxpayers’ through improper and deceptive marketing practices will face the consequences.”
This investigation resulted from a qui tam action filed in the United States District Court of the District of Massachusetts, under the federal False Claims Act and various state false claims statutes. In the complaint, two former Warner Chilcott managers alleged that from January 1, 2009 through March 31, 2013, the company paid illegal remuneration to doctors in the form of promotional speaking fees, honoraria, and meals to induce prescription of: Actonel (bone deformation), Asacol (ulcerative colitis), Asacol HD (ulcerative colitis), Atelvia (osteoporosis), Doryx (bacterial infections), Enablex (overactive bladder), Estrace vaginal and vulvar atrophy), Loestrin 24 Fe and Lo Loestrin (oral contraceptives). The complaint also alleged that Warner Chilcott falsified prior authorization requests, non-formulary exception requests, and coverage determination requests to ensure Medicaid and federal healthcare program coverage and reimbursement for the drug Atelvia in all states, and Actonel in New York.
Warner Chilcott has agreed to pay the states and federal government $102 million in civil damages and penalties to resolve the civil kickback and false documentation allegations. The total Medicaid portion of the settlement, state and federal, is $10.6 million; the states’ share of the Medicaid recovery is just over $5 million. Warner Chilcott will be permanently excluded from Medicaid, Medicare and other Federal health care programs. Additionally, Warner Chilcott has pled guilty to one felony count that alleged a health care fraud violation under 18 U.S.C. § 1347. As part of the settlement, the Commonwealth of Kentucky will receive $44,784.67.
A team from the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units represented the interests of the states during negotiations with Warner Chilcott PLC. Team members included representatives from Texas, California, Massachusetts, Tennessee, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Since Attorney General Conway took office in January 2008, his Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control has led or participated in actions which have been awarded more than $300 million for the state and federal Medicaid and other health care programs. These cases range from lawsuits and settlements against pharmaceutical companies to cases against individual providers.
In 2012, General Conway’s Medicaid Fraud Unit was named one of the most aggressive in the country by the nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen. The Attorney General’s tip line for reporting allegations of abuse is 1-877-228-7384.