Bryan Cohen Jan. 24, 2013, 8:01pm
NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Wednesday his office recovered more than $335 million for New York taxpayers in 2012 that was improperly claimed through Medicaid fraud or abuse.
The number marks the second highest annual recovery total by Schneiderman's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the highest recovery in seven years. In 2012, the MFCU vigilantly pursued major pharmaceutical companies, which paid more than $250 million to settle cases alleging that they marketed or priced drugs illegally.
The pharmaceutical manufacturers who reached settlements with Schneiderman's office last year include Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., McKesson Corporation, K-V Pharmaceutical Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Dava Pharmaceuticals Inc., Boehringer-Ingelheim and Abbott Laboratories.
"Part of my first major initiative when I took office was to bolster the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with additional prosecutors, investigators, and auditors, in order to even more aggressively root out fraud and return money illegally stolen from New York taxpayers and their government," Schneiderman said. "That initiative has paid off with record recoveries for taxpayers this year. My office's Medicaid Fraud team will keep working hard to root out fraud wherever it exists, and protect the integrity of the Medicaid program for those who truly need it."
Major statewide and regional cases for the MFCU included a massive scheme code-named Operation Black Market Meds in which the perpetrators tried to distribute black market prescription HIV drugs and bill Medicaid more than $155 million, a group of four pharmacists who submitted $9.9 million worth of Medicaid claims for drugs that were never dispensed to patients and a Staten Island illegal narcotics drug trafficking operation.
"The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit does an outstanding job, not only protecting taxpayers, but protecting patients from fraudulent practices that endangered their safety," Schneiderman said. "I know this unit will continue to be vigilant in the coming year and send the message that fraud and abuse that endangers patients and rips off taxpayers will not be tolerated in our state."