TALLAHASSEE – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – Attorney General …

TALLAHASSEE – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – Attorney General Charlie Crist today announced a multi-million dollar settlement with pharmaceutical giant Schering-Plough Corporation that will provide more than $10.4 million to the taxpayer-supported Florida Medicaid program. Florida’s share is part of a $435-million nationwide settlement with the drug manufacturer, in which a Schering-Plough subsidiary pled guilty to conspiracy.

A federal investigation revealed that Schering Sales Corporation, a unit of Schering-Plough, engaged in a wide variety of misconduct that included misreporting the “best price” for several of its drugs, among which is the popular allergy drug Claritin. By inflating the best prices, Schering-Plough undercut the value of rebates the state Medicaid programs were supposed to receive for the drugs.

“Drug manufacturers will not be allowed to rip off our Medicaid program,” Crist said. “Medicaid is in place to ensure that the needy receive medical treatment, not to line the pockets of big businesses at taxpayers’ expense.”

The investigation also revealed that Schering-Plough engaged in improper marketing of a drug intended to treat brain tumors. The company pushed the drug for other purposes not approved by the FDA. Schering-Plough was also accused of paying improper kickbacks to doctors to encourage them to use Schering-Plough’s products when they treated patients.

The settlement resolves allegations surrounding Schering-Plough’s fraudulent best price reporting practices as well as the improper off-label marketing practices and the kickbacks. The settlement was negotiated by the U.S. Justice Department and the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

A copy of the settlement is available at:
http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-6T5SJ7/$file/ScheringPlough.pdf

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