BOSTON (Legal Newsline) – Pharmaceutical companies Wyeth and Pfizer Inc. have agreed to pay $784.6 million to resolve allegations of knowingly misreporting information related to its proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs, Protonix Oral and Protonix IV, the Department of Justice announced.
“This settlement demonstrates our unwavering commitment to hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for pursuing pricing schemes that attempt to manipulate and overcharge federal health care programs – programs that protect the poor and disabled – for drugs sold to commercial customers at much lower prices,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said.
The government’s Medicaid program mandates that drug companies need to report the best prices they offer customers for their brand-name drugs, and the defendants allegedly failed to do this.
“This significant settlement illustrates that the government will not permit drug companies to dodge their obligations to the Medicaid program or create elaborate pricing schemes to deceive Medicaid into paying more than it should for drugs,” U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts said. “This settlement, after years of hard-fought litigation, shows our commitment to ensuring that healthcare businesses do not take advantage of the federal health insurance programs which serve those who need assistance most.”
The Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the state attorneys general and other law enforcement entities including Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were involved in the case.