Feds, states reach $42M agreement with Alpharma

By John O'Brien | Mar 17, 2010


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Pharmaceutical drug maker Alpharma is paying $42.5 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit concerning its marketing of the morphine-based drug Kadian.

Several states will share in the settlement, as will whistleblower Debra Parks, who is receiving more than $5 million. State Medicaid programs will receive $19.5 million, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said.

Alpharma was alleged to have paid health care providers to encourage them to prescribe Kadian and to have made misrepresentations about the safety and efficacy of the drug.

"Illegal marketing of pharmaceutical drugs jeopardizes the public's confidence in our health care system," said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice.

"All consumers have the right to know that their health care provider's judgment about drugs they should take has not been undermined by misinformation or kickbacks from pharmaceutical manufacturers."

States also received almost $9 million to settle their claims.

A team representing the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units participated in the investigation and conducted settlement negotiations with Alpharma on behalf of the states. Team members included representatives from South Carolina, Texas, Florida, Vermont and Arkansas.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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