Pharmaceutical company to pay NC $1.2 million - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Pharmaceutical company to pay NC $1.2 million

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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) -

Pharmaceutical company Amgen, Inc. will pay nearly $1.2 million to North Carolina for illegally marketing its drugs, manipulating prices, and causing false Medicaid claims to be submitted, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Thursday.

"Causing Medicaid to overpay for drugs wastes tax dollars, prevents patients from getting needed care, and drives up health care costs for all of us," Cooper said.  "We are continuing to crack down on Medicaid fraud to protect patients and save money."

The agreement is part of a $612 million national settlement that Amgen reached this week with state and federal authorities to compensate Medicaid, Medicare, and other taxpayer funded health care programs for its illegal conduct.  As part of the settlement, North Carolina will receive $1,183,577 in restitution and other recovery, the official report states.

Cooper and the other parties contend that Amgen engaged in several improper practices including illegally marketing drugs, offering or paying kickbacks to influence health care providers to prescribe certain drugs for Medicaid recipients, and knowingly reporting inaccurate prices and sales prices for certain drugs, which caused Medicaid to pay too much for them.

Amgen will also agree to close monitoring of its future sales and marketing practices by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General.

This settlement is based on ten whistleblower cases that were filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington by private individuals under state and federal false claims statutes.  

In addition, Amgen has agreed to plead guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York for introducing a drug that was misbranded, Aranesp, in violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The North Carolina settlement agreement was reached by Cooper's Medicaid Investigations Division and the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance.

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