Bryan Cohen Mar. 4, 2014, 3:16pm

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) - Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced Kentucky's participation on Friday in a more than $3.8 million multi-state and federal settlement with a pharmacy specializing in dispensing drugs to nursing homes.

Omnicare Inc. allegedly received kickbacks from Amgen Inc. to promote the drug Aranesp, a drug used to treat anemia caused by chemotherapy or kidney failure. Between Sept. 1, 2003 and June 30, 2005, Omnicare allegedly solicited and received kickbacks in the form of discounts, grants, market share rebates, consulting services, speaker fees, travel and dinners. The alleged kickbacks were offered in exchange for Omnicare influencing healthcare providers' selection and use of Aranesp in long-term care facilities.

Omnicare also allegedly implemented therapeutic interchange programs meant to switch patients from a competitor drug to Aranesp and allegedly caused false and/or fraudulent claims for Aranesp to be submitted to federal and state Medicaid programs.

"We've sent a clear message today that Kentucky will not tolerate drug companies that take part in this type of illegal behavior," Conway said. "I am pleased that we will be able to return this money to our vital state Medicaid program."

Under the terms of the settlement, Kentucky will receive $86,452.20, $25,467.52 of which will return directly to the state Medicaid program. The federal government will receive $60,984.68 of the state's settlement amount for its share of Kentucky-related damages.

The settlement was the result of a whistleblower lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for South Carolina.

Since January 2008, Conway's Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control recovered or was awarded more than $260 million for the state and federal Medicaid programs.

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