health care

RI to get more than $4M in fraud settlement

Posted 7/9/12

PROVIDENCE – GlaxoSmithKline agreed to settle claims and pay $3 billion to resolve allegations that it engaged in illegal marketing and pricing it manufactures and, as part of the settlement, Rhode Island will received $4.6 million in recoveries, the R.I. Office of the Attorney General announced on July 2.

GlaxoSmithKline settled claims related to:

  • Marketing the depression drug Paxil for off-label uses, such as use by children and adolescents.

  • Marketing the depression drug Wellbutrin for off-label uses, such as for weight loss and treatment of sexual dysfunction, and at higher-than-approved dosages;

  • Marketing the asthma drug Advair for off-label uses, including first-line use for asthma;

  • Marketing the seizure medication Lamictal for off-label uses, including bipolar depression, neuropathic pain, and various other psychiatric conditions.

  • Marketing the nausea drug Zofran for off-label uses, including pregnancy-related nausea.

  • Making false representations regarding the safety and efficacy of Paxil, Wellbutrin, Advair, Lamictal, Zofran, and the diabetes drug Avandia.

  • Offering kickbacks, including entertainment, cash, travel, and meals, to health care professionals to induce them to promote and prescribe Paxil, Wellbutrin, Advair, Lamictan, Zofran, the migraine drug Imitrex, the irritable bowel syndrome drug Lotronex, the asthma drug Flovent, and the shingles and herpes drug Valtrex.

  • Submitting incorrect pricing data for various drugs, underpaying rebates owed to Medicaid and other federal health care programs.

    “Not only did GlaxoSmithKline allegedly engage in off-label promotion, but it also targeted children and pregnant women and offered kickbacks to health care professionals,” said R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin.

    In May, in another drug fraud settlement against Abbott Laboratories, Rhode Island received more than $2.3 million in recoveries related to Abbott’s promotion and sale of the drug Depakote for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective. The alleged conduct resulted in false claims to Medicaid and other health care programs.

    Increases in pharmacy costs are one of the major drivers in the request for increases rates for 2013 by commercial health insurers in Rhode Island, according to analysis by the R.I. Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner. UnitedHealthcare of New England is seeking a 12.3 percent annual increase for small groups and a 12.4 percent annual increase for large groups; Tufts Health Plan is seeking a 4.7 percent annual increase for both small and large groups, and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is seeking a 7.5 percent annual increase for small groups and a 6.5 percent increase for large groups.

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