Friday, August 08, 2008

Illegal Promotion of Psych Drug for Children - Tennessee gets $3.5 Million


Knoxville News Sentinel
Tennessee gets $3.5M from Bristol Meyers Squibb settlement July 28, 2008

Tennessee is getting $3.5 million of a $389 million settlement from drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and its former subsidiary, Apothecon Inc., the Tennessee Attorney General's office said Monday. The National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units reported in July that 43 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government settled with New York-based Bristol-Myers for $389 million plus interest. The settlement resolved allegations of illegal drug marketing and pricing of prescription medications paid by the states' Medicaid programs.

"This is a significant case, and we hope this will lead to better practices and greater accountability in this segment of the heatlhcare industry," Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper said in a statement.

According to Attorney General's office, the settlement addresses several allegations involving more than a dozen drugs against Bristol- Myers, including:

- Reporting inflated prices for various prescription drugs;

- Paying illegal remuneration to physicians, health care providers, and pharmacies to induce them to purchase BMS and Apothecon products;

- Promoting the sale and use of Abilify, an antipsychotic drug, for pediatric use and for treatment of dementia-related psychosis, uses which the federal Food and Drug Administration has not approved; and

- Misreporting sales prices for Serzone, an antidepressant, resulting in the improper reduction of the amount of rebates paid to the state Medicaid programs.

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