BMS pays $500M on fraud suits

Back to the (sigh) pharma Medicaid fraud suits, Bristol-Myers Squibb is squabbling while several states are smiling. New York, Massachusetts, Missouri, Georgia and Connecticut are just a few of the 43 states who can expect to recoup some cash, and the word is that New York received as much as $40 million.

The company faced allegations ranging from kickbacks and unfair pricing to paying pharmacies and wholesalers "improper inducements," resulting in losses of $389 million to state Medicaid programs. A September Department of Justice ruling determined the company would pay about $500 million to several states.   

Apothecon, a former generics subsidy of Bristol-Myers, was a major player in the allegations. Also under question was improper and illegal marketing of Abilify for use in vulnerable children and the elderly, although it had not been an approved antipsychotic medication in either population at the time. Similarly, there were inaccurate pricing reports for the antidepressant, Serzone, and the company illegally paid physicians and other healthcare providers to promote the use of its products to the poor, according to the suit.

The suit is more than just a monetary one, as Bristol-Myers Squibb is now in a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the United States Department of Health and Human Services to help prevent future misdeeds. The payments went out Tuesday.

- read more from the WSJ Blog  
- see the Boston Globe story  
- here's what The Weekly local paper said