Feds settle Topamax whistleblower suit
LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has announced a settlement with a pharmaceutical company accused of engaging in an off-label marketing campaign that improperly promoted a drug.
Under terms of the agreement, Ortho-McNeil-Jannsen will pay the federal government $1 million that will go toward state Medicaid claims. The company will also send more than $584,000 to Michigan's Medicaid Trust Fund.
The company allegedly had an off-label marketing campaign that promoted the drug Topamax improperly. Topamax is a Food and Drug Administration-approved drug that treats epileptic symptoms and aids in the prevention of migraine symptoms.
From 2001-2003, it is alleged that Ortho-McNeil-Janssen marketed Topamax to treat bipolar disorder and drug and alcohol dependency, causing government health care programs to pay for more Topamax prescriptions than they should have.
"Improper medical marketing practices are unfair to Michigan taxpayers," Cox said. "My office remains dedicated to rooting out Medicaid fraud and ensuring Michigan citizens receive quality, affordable health care."
Ortho-McNeil-Janssen has entered into a corporate integrity agreement with the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Inspector General, which will monitor the company's future marketing and sales practices closely.
The company is expected to pay the federal government and other states close to $75 million in damages and penalties to compensate Medicaid and other federal health care programs.
The settlement is based on two whistleblower cases filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts by private parties who filed actions under state and federal false claims statutes.