September 16, 2010
Jefferson City, Mo.-Attorney General Chris Koster announced today that a pharmaceutical company will pay Missouri $1.9 million as part of a national settlement after the company was accused of engaging in off-label marketing of its anticonvulsant drug Topamax.
Koster said Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., will pay state Medicaid programs a total of more than $50 million, which will be allocated to the states and the federal government based on their joint funding of Medicaid.
"In these difficult budget times the last thing states can afford to do is pay for pharmaceuticals that have been marketed in unfair ways to Medicaid providers," Koster said. "We will continue to protect Missouri Medicaid's budget by recovering payments that were fraudulently obtained."
The state settlement is part of the recent $75,370,000 million settlement between the company and the United States that was announced by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts on April 29, 2010. The remainder of the settlement, $24,106,000, is allotted for federal programs such as Medicare, TRICARE, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals is settling allegations that it engaged in a company-wide scheme to improperly market Topamax for unapproved uses. Topamax is a drug that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat epileptic symptoms and to aid in the prevention of migraine symptoms. Despite Topamax's limited approved uses, it is alleged that Ortho-McNeil-Janssen marketed the drug to physicians for a variety of psychiatric conditions (including, but not limited to, bipolar disorder and drug and alcohol dependency), and that as a result government healthcare programs such as Medicaid paid for more Topamax prescriptions than they should have.
As part of the settlement, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals has entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, which will closely monitor the company's future marketing and sales practices.
Koster said citizens should report suspected Medicaid provider fraud or abuse and neglect to his Medicaid Fraud Hotline toll free at 800-286-3932, e-mail the complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org or complete a complaint form at the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Website at http://ago.mo.gov/divisions/medicaid-fraud-control-unit-faqs.htm.