BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) - Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler announced on Thursday that Maryland joined with other states in a settlement with Sanofi-Aventis U.S. Inc. to resolve allegations the company paid kickbacks to physicians.

Sanofi-Aventis U.S. Inc., which is now doing business as Sanofi US Services Inc. and Sanofi Aventis U.S. LLC, allegedly violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and multiple state anti-kickback laws when it paid doctors to buy and prescribe the medication Hyalgan. Hyalgan is an osteoarthritis drug that treats knee pain.

Sanofi US allegedly offered and provided free Hyalgan units with knowledge that doctors could receive Medicaid reimbursement as if they paid for the drugs and/or knew the units were not free because they were offered in exchange for buying additional quantities of Hyalgan. The settlement also resolves allegations that Sanofi US submitted inflated average sales price information to the government, leading to inflated Medicaid reimbursement for Hyalgan in some states.

"Drug companies that use bribes to boost their bottom lines show total disregard for the health and welfare of consumers," Gansler said. "This settlement demonstrates that businesses attempting to cheat the system will be held accountable."

Under the terms of the settlement, the New Jersey-based Sanofi US will pay the participating state Medicaid programs $617,000. The Maryland Medicaid program will receive $5,026.35, which it will share with the federal government. The federal government partially funds the state Medicaid program.


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