FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 3, 2014) — Attorney General Jack Conway and his Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Unit on Friday announced Kentucky’s participation in a more than $3.8 million national settlement with Omnicare, Inc., the nation’s largest pharmacy specializing in dispensing drugs to nursing home patients. The settlement resolves allegations that Omnicare received kickbacks from Amgen Inc. to promote the drug Aranesp.
Kentucky’s total share of the settlement is $86,452.20 with $25,467.52 returning directly to the state Medicaid program. The federal government will receive $60,984.68 for its share of Kentucky-related damages.
“We’ve sent a clear message today that Kentucky will not tolerate drug companies that take part in this type of illegal behavior,” Conway said. “I am pleased that we will be able to return this money to our vital state Medicaid program.”
Kentucky, along with the federal government and several other states, alleged that between Sept. 1, 2003, and June 30, 2005, Omnicare solicited and received kickbacks from Amgen, including discounts, market-share rebates, grants, speaker fees, consulting services, dinners and travel. The kickbacks were offered in exchange for Omnicare influencing health care providers’ selection and utilization of Aranesp within long-term care facilities and for implementing “therapeutic interchange” programs designed to switch patients from a competitor drug to Aranesp. As a result, Omnicare is alleged to have knowingly caused false and/or fraudulent claims for Aranesp to be submitted to the federal-state Medicaid program.
This settlement stems from a whistleblower lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for South Carolina. Kentucky was represented by a settlement team working through the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units.
Since 2008, the Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control has recovered or been awarded more than $260 million dollars for the state and federal Medicaid programs. These cases range from lawsuits and settlements against pharmaceutical companies to cases against individual providers.
The Attorney General’s tip line for reporting allegations of Medicaid fraud is 1-877-228-7384.