A Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical corporation and several associated entities pled guilty to making false statements in relation to an opioid-addiction drug it allegedly claimed was safer to use than it actually was.
According to prosecutors, the defendant attempted to convince MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, to expand its coverage to include the drug on the basis of evidence that tended to show the drug was among the safest of buprenorphine drugs then available in the state. Per investigators, the defendant offered evidence that the drug had the lowest rate of accidental exposure to children of all such drugs when it first approached MassHealth in the fall of 2012.
In addition to allegedly submitting false and misleading information to MassHealth, the defendant allegedly used mass marketing and advertising to promote the claimed safety of its drug, which prosecutors say some of the top executives at MassHealth saw.
Alongside the guilty plea was a civil settlement with the defendant over a complaint filed against it by the United States government. The Federal government claims the defendant knowingly promoted the sale of its drug by doctors it knew were not prescribing it correctly and disseminated information about the drug that falsely stated its safety for use. From 2010 to 2015, such activities cost both state and federal medical insurance providers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In exchange for dismissing the claims, the defendant has agreed to pay a total of $300 million to state and federal medical insurance providers, with $209.3 million going toward the federal government and the remaining $90.7 million for state medical insurance providers.