October 26, 2012

CT's Boehringer to pay $95M kickback penalty

Connecticut and other states and federal taxpayers will share $95 million from a drug-kickback and off-label marketing scheme involving German drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., whose U.S. base is Ridgefield, authorities say.

Boehringer Ingelheim will pay the states and the federal government the $95 million dollars, of which $34.5 million will go to the Medicaid programs to resolve civil allegations that the company unlawfully marketed four drugs, and thereby caused false claims to be submitted to the government health care programs, investigators said Friday.

Attorney General George Jepsen said Connecticut's Medicaid program will get $460,222, the state's share of which is $243,123. In addition, the state will recover $107,232 for state-only programs.

Investigators say Boehringer Ingelheim paid kickbacks and engaged in off-label marketing campaigns that improperly promoted the four drugs: Atrovent, Combivent, Micardis and Aggrenox.

A spokeswoman at Boehringer's German headquarters did not immediately respond Friday to an HBJ email seeking comment.

"This is another example of a federal and state partnership to better protect the health and safety of consumers and the integrity of the Medicaid program," said Jepsen, who in his statement praised the Office of the Chief State's Attorney and the state Department of Social Service for their work on the case with his Office.

As a condition of the settlement, the drug maker signed an agreement with the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, which will closely monitor the company's future marketing and sales practices.

Anyone with information concerning health care fraud in Connecticut should contact the Attorney General's Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department at 860-808-5040.

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