Attorney General George Jepsen said that Connecticut has joined with other states and the federal government to settle allegations that Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI), paid kickbacks and engaged in off-label marketing campaigns that improperly promoted four drugs: Atrovent, Combivent, Micardis and Aggrenox.
BIPI, whose U.S. headquarters is in Ridgefield, Connecticut, will pay the states and the federal government $95 million dollars, of which $34,468,649.22 will go to the Medicaid programs to resolve civil allegations that the company unlawfully marketed the four drugs, and thereby caused false claims to be submitted to the government health care programs.
Connecticut’s Medicaid program will receive $460,222, the state’s share of which is $243,123. In addition, Connecticut will recover $107,232 for state-only programs.
“This is another example of a federal and state partnership to better protect the health and safety of consumers and the integrity of the Medicaid program,” said Attorney General Jepsen, who praised the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and the state Department of Social Service for their work on the case with his Office.
Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane commended the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Chief State's Attorney, the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Social Services for their continued efforts to combat fraud, waste and abuse and assure that taxpayers receive the maximum benefit from the public resources invested in the Medicaid program.
Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby said, “Enforcement actions of this kind are crucial to help protect both the health of Medicaid beneficiaries and the tax dollars funding the program. As the administering state agency for Medicaid, DSS appreciates our strong working relationship with the Attorney General’s and Chief State’s Attorney’s Offices in combatting fraud and abuse. We do not believe that inappropriate practices characterize the Medicaid provider community as a whole, but vigilance is necessary to safeguard the integrity of the program.”
This settlement resolves allegations that BIPI unlawfully marketed these drugs for a variety of uses that were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For example, the stroke-prevention drug Aggrenox was marketed for off-label use to treat myocardial infarction and peripheral vascular disease; Combinet was marketed to be used before another drug in treating Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; and the hypertension drug Micardis was marketed for treatment of early diabetic kidney disease.
Additionally, the settlement resolves allegations that BIPI knowingly promoted the sale and use of Combivent and Atrovent at doses that exceeded those covered by federal health care programs, and that BIPI knowingly made unsubstantiated claims about Aggrenox. Finally, the agreement resolves allegations that the company paid kickbacks to health care professionals as inducement to prescribe.
As a condition of the settlement, BIPI will enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, which will closely monitor the company’s future marketing and sales practices.
Anyone with information concerning health care fraud in Connecticut should contact the Attorney General’s Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department at 860-808-5040.