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.