DOJ: News Release

Pharmaceutical Company to Reimburse State $152,000 in Medicaid Fraud Settlement

HELENA – Montana will receive nearly $152,000 in Medicaid restitution and penalties as part of a settlement recently negotiated between the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units and pharmaceutical manufacturer Parke-Davis, a division of Warner-Lambert. The Medicaid fraud settlement is separate from a recent consumer-protection settlement with Warner-Lambert.

Warner-Lambert will pay $152 million in damages and penalties to states’ Medicaid programs as part of an agreement that resolves allegations of a massive “off-label” marketing campaign for the epilepsy medication Neurontin. “Off-label” describes a use of a medication other than the use for which the drug is approved. Although doctors may prescribe drugs for off-label purposes, it is illegal for manufacturers to promote those off-label uses.

The pharmaceutical company had allegedly marketed Neurontin for a variety of off-label uses, including pain management, bipolar disorder, alcohol and drug withdrawal and migraines. Warner-Lambert also made payments to physicians for “research” that the government contended was in effect a kickback for off-label prescribing, and provided expensive perks to physicians who attended and/or spoke at the continuing education classes where Neurontin was promoted for off-label uses.

This marketing campaign resulted in inappropriate, unnecessary and/or ineffective prescriptions for Neurontin, which were in turned paid for by the Medicaid program.

Payments to Montana include:

  • $74,368 in Medicaid restitution
  • $74,368 in Medicaid penalties and
  • $3,162.97 in interest

The funds are repaid to the Montana Medicaid program administered by the state Department of Public Health and Human Services. The Montana settlement also included $331,601.31 in federal matching funds.

The case was handled by the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units and the U.S. Department of Justice, based on investigations and data from state Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

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