Ohio to receive $241K in Exjade settlement

By Bryan Cohen | Jan 14, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the recovery of $240,845 on Thursday from a $15 million multi-state settlement with a New York-based pharmaceutical company.

BioScrip Inc., the former operator of a specialty pharmaceutical company, allegedly received kickbacks in exchange for the promotion of a chronic iron overload drug. BioScrip allegedly received kickbacks from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation to promote Exjade, Novartis' iron chelation drug, under the guise of a program for patient education.

"Those with these companies played with the health of patients, causing Medicaid to pay for prescriptions that would have never been written if not for the kickbacks," DeWine said.

In 2007, Novartis allegedly became concerned patients were discontinuing Exjade because of side effects. Novartis allegedly paid kickbacks to BioScrip to try to keep patients on Exjade as long as possible. BioScrip allegedly performed this task by making thousands of phone calls to Exjade patients to downplay the side effects of the drug.

The joint state and federal inquiry into the matter was conducted by a team appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, among other federal agencies.

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