Ohio's attorney general says the state will receive almost $1.4 million in restitution and other recovery as part of a recent settlement agreement by a pharmaceutical company.
The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday that Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. will pay $95 million to settle allegations that the company promoted three drugs for uses that were not medically accepted.
“I am just kind of shocked that a company thinks they can do that,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.
According to DeWine, the company falsely advertised the drug for what is called “off-label purposes.” For example, the company allegedly said that it could help heart attack victims and kidney patients with drugs that were not approved for those uses.
The Justice Department says the three are the stroke-prevention drug Aggrenox, the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease drug Combivent and the high blood pressure drug Micardis. The company also promoted the use of a fourth drug, Atrovent, at doses exceeding those covered by federal health care programs.
Taxpayers shelled out money to Medicaid to pay for the drugs that were never approved for the diseases they were treating.
According to court documents, doctors took kickbacks from the drug company to make the alleged scheme work, according to the lawsuit.
No criminal charges or fines have been filed against the doctors who allegedly took money.
“It’s really shocking behavior on behalf of the company,” DeWine said. “It’s shocking behavior on behalf of those who accepted that. It may not be a criminal violation. It may not be technically illegal, but it certainly is very, very bad behavior on part of that company.”
DeWine said that accurate marketing is vital for those who are in need of the medications and also those paying for them.
Watchdog 10 reached out to the company for comment, but no one responded.
Company officials have said that by settling the lawsuit, they are not admitting wrongdoing.
DeWine said that the money received by the state would go back into Ohio’s Medicaid fund.
Watch 10TV and refresh 10TV.com for more information.