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BOSTON – Attorney General Martha Coakley announced last week that a pharmaceutical manufacturer has agreed to pay more than $730,000 to the Massachusetts Medicaid Program as part of a settlement resolving allegations of improper off-label marketing of four of its drugs.
The company, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., is a German firm with a U.S. division headquartered in Ridgefield, Conn. It allegedly engaged in illegal off-label marketing and kickback schemes to promote the sale of four drugs: Aggrenox, Micardis, Atrovent and Combivent. The investigation began with the filing of a whistleblower lawsuit in federal court in Maryland, according to a news release.
“This action is part of our ongoing effort to hold manufacturers accountable for inaccurate marketing and sales practices of medications, especially when people are struggling to pay for them,” Coakley said in a statement. “The settlement returns money to our MassHealth program and ensures that patient and taxpayer dollars are spent for legitimate, medically necessary purposes.”
The settlement also resolves allegations that Boehringer paid kickbacks to health care professionals as an inducement to prescribe the company’s products, the release said.
Under the terms of the multistate settlement, Boehringer will pay the state Medicaid programs approximately $34.5 million in compensation for excessive payments made as a result of the alleged illegal conduct. •