Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Announces Kentucky's Participation in $25 Million Settlement with Drug Company Amgen, Inc.
Attorney General Jack Conway announced today that Kentucky will join other states and the federal government in a nearly $25 million settlement with Amgen, Inc. to settle claims arising out of its illegal marketing of the drug Aranesp. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Aranesp for use in treating anemia associated with chronic kidney failure.
The states and federal government allege that Amgen made illegal payments to nursing homes and other long-term care pharmacy providers to induce them to prescribe Aranesp. The drug manufacturer also allegedly pressured long-term care pharmacists to switch patients who were taking a competitor's drug to Aranesp, including patients who had never been diagnosed or treated for chronic kidney failure.
Under the settlement, Kentucky will receive $351,846. After reimbursing the federal government, Kentucky's Medicaid program will retain $99,490 as its state share.
"We will continue to aggressively pursue drug companies that rely on illegal kickbacks, high-pressure tactics and deceptive marketing practices to boost their bottom lines," General Conway said. "I am pleased that my office has once again recovered money for a vital state program and for Kentucky taxpayers."
This marks Attorney General Conway's third recovery from Amgen in the last three years. In 2009, Amgen paid $2.4 million to settle claims that it published false and inflated average wholesale prices used by Kentucky Medicaid to calculate Medicaid drug reimbursement rates. In 2012, Amgen paid $614 million to settle claims that it illegally marketed a number of drugs for so-called "off-label" uses that were not medically accepted and had not been approved by the FDA.
Amgen also paid illegal kickbacks to physicians to induce them to prescribe Amgen drugs and failed to include the kickbacks in the prices it was required to report to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Kentucky Medicaid received $1,105,895 from this settlement, of which it which it retained $313,830 after reimbursing the federal government.
Since Attorney General Conway took office in January 2008, his Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control has recovered or been awarded nearly $300 million dollars for the state and federal Medicaid programs. These cases range from lawsuits and settlements against pharmaceutical companies to cases against individual providers.
In 2012, General Conway's Medicaid Fraud Unit was named one of the most aggressive in the country by the nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen.
The Attorney General's Tip Line for reporting allegations of Medicaid fraud is 1-877-228-7384.