November 14, 2006
Jefferson City, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon announced today that Omnicare Inc., a Kentucky-based institutional pharmacy, will pay more than $1.2 million to compensate the Missouri Medicaid program as part of a 42-state, $49.5 million Medicaid fraud settlement.
The settlement resolves allegations that Omnicare violated various state and federal statutes and regulations by switching dosage strengths and forms of certain medications used by Medicaid patients. The drugs involved included the generic forms of such widely prescribed drugs as Zantac, Prozac and Buspar. As a result, Nixon said, the state Medicaid programs paid more than they should have for certain drugs. Omnicare made the switches without the involvement of the patients' physicians and, in doing so, violated many states' pharmaceutical dispensing statutes and regulations.
“The switches in dosage and form ended up costing Medicaid programs across the country several million dollars, and this settlement will make the programs whole for those unwarranted costs,” Nixon said. “We will continue to be aggressive in going after Medicaid fraud and return money to Missouri.”
Missouri's participation in the settlement will result in $1,228,838 going back to taxpayers, Nixon said; more than $430,237 of that amount will reimburse the Missouri Medicaid program, and the balance will go to the federal government for its share of the Medicaid costs.
Under the settlement, Omnicare also will enter into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Inspector General. The agreement will include provisions that Omnicare cannot switch dosage or strength forms of any medication if the result would be an increase in cost to third-party payers, including Medicaid.
The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Attorney General's Office, formed by Nixon in 1994, has authority under state law to investigate and prosecute, both civilly and criminally, allegations of fraud against Missouri's Medicaid Program.