In the latest instance of pharmaceutical fraud, three companies - Abbott Laboratories, Boehringer Ingelheim's Roxane Labs unit andB. Braun Medical - have collectively agreed to pay $421 million to settle charges that they deliberately misreported pricing info in order to hike reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid.
This is only the latest instance in which drugmakers have been tagged for rigging the average wholesale price charged federal healthcare systems. Numerous lawsuits and charges have been brought against nearly every large drugmaker by the feds and many states in recent years. With these settlements, the US Department of Justice has recovered more than $1.8 billion from drugmakers over pricing fraud.
"By offering their customers one price and then falsely reporting a greatly inflated price to the lists the government uses when determining how much to pay for the drugs, we believe pharmaceutical companies created an incentive for the purchase of their drugs, since buyers could obtain government payment at the inflated price and pocket the difference,” said Tony West, an assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, during a media briefing today (read the statement).
In this latest instance, Boehringer's Roxane is paying $280 million, Abbott is paying $126.5 million and Braun, which is a subsidiary of Germany's B. Braun Melsungen, was tagged for $14.7 million. Some of the charges, by the way, stemmed from two whistleblower lawsuits filed by Ven-A-Care of the Florida Keys, whose allegations have led to settlements with many other drugmakers (see here, here and here).