New York, NY - February 28th, 2014 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a $4.19 million settlement with long-term-care pharmacy Omnicare, a nationwide corporation headquartered in Kentucky. The agreement resolves allegations that the pharmacy demanded price concessions – or kickbacks – from drug manufacturer Amgen to switch the pharmacies’ long-term care patients suffering from chronic kidney disease, among other ailments, to a drug manufactured by Amgen.
The Attorney General’s Office led a national team of state Medicaid Fraud Control Units working with the Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s office for the District of South Carolina to reach the settlement. Under the agreement, the New York Medicaid Program will be reimbursed $664,137.09.
“Whether patients are treated by physicians, in nursing homes or in long-term-care facilities, prescription drugs should be dispensed based on medical necessity – not on side deals for pharmaceutical companies to gain market share in a captive patient population,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office will hold accountable those entities that subvert patients’ and their medical professionals’ judgment by such actions.”
This settlement, along with a settlement in the same matter with pharma giant Amgen last year, resolves allegations that Amgen and Omnicare conspired to switch patients in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, to the nephrology drug Aranesp by giving discounts, market share rebates, speaker fees and other price concessions to Omnicare in exchange for influencing Omnicare’s selection and utilization of Aranesp. The drug is also used to battle the effects of chemotherapy.
Last year, Amgen agreed to pay $24.9 million in a national settlement for its conduct. The New York Medicaid Program received $3.2 million of that money. A press release from the Amgen settlement can be found here. The Omnicare settlement money will go to reimburse Medicaid programs in 48 states and the District of Columbia. A copy of the Omnicare settlement is available here. A copy of the earlier Amgen settlement is available here.
The national team, composed of members from North Carolina and Indiana representing the states’ Medicaid Fraud Control Units, was led by Jay Speers, Counsel to the New York Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, along with Special Assistant Attorney General Carolyn Ellis, Chief Auditor for Civil Enforcement Michael LaCasse and Associate Special Auditor Investigator Meghan Collins. The New York MFCU is headed by Acting Director Amy Held. Kelly Donovan is Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice.