|TRENTON – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced today that New Jersey will receive a net amount of approximately $421,181 as a result of its participation in a global settlement with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) that resolves allegations the company paid kickbacks and engaged in off-label marketing campaigns that improperly promoted four of its drugs.
BIPI, a Connecticut-based company, will pay the participating states and the federal government a total of $95 million. Of that money, approximately $34.5 million will go to Medicaid programs to resolve civil allegations that the company unlawfully marketed its drugs Aggrenox, Combivent, Atrovent and Micardis, and in so doing caused false claims to be submitted to government health insurance programs.
According to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi, Boehringer was alleged to have unlawfully marketed the four drugs for a variety of uses not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including: Aggrenox for certain cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction and peripheral vascular disease; Combivent for use prior to another bronchodilator in treating Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; and Micardis for treatment of early diabetic kidney disease.
BIPI was also accused of knowingly promoting the sale and use of Combivent and Atrovent at doses exceeding those covered by federal health care programs, and also of knowingly making unsupported claims about the efficacy of Aggrenox -- including that it was superior to a competitor drug, Plavix. Finally, the agreement resolves allegations that BIPI paid kickbacks to health care professionals as inducement to prescribe Aggrenox, Combivent, Atrovent and Micardis.
As a condition of settlement, BIPI will enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, which will closely monitor the company’s future marketing and sales practices.
The investigation that led to the settlement announced today resulted from a qui tam action originally filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland under the federal False Claims Act, as well as various state false claims statutes, including New Jersey’s.
A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (NAMFCU) Team participated in the investigation and conducted settlement negotiations with BIPI on behalf of the states. The NAMFCU Team included representatives from Attorney Generals’ Offices in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, South Carolina and Oregon.