Endo Pharmaceuticals to Pay NC $1.5 Million for Medicaid Fraud
Endo Pharmaceuticals will pay $1.5 million to the state of North Carolina as part of a settlement to resolve allegations of unlawful marketing, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced.
"Pushing drugs for unapproved uses means patients get treatments that may not even work and health care dollars get wasted," Cooper said. "We're going after these illegal marketing tactics to win back taxpayer money."
The funds are part of a $172.9 million dollar settlement with North Carolina, 46 other states, the District of Columbia and the federal government to resolve allegations that Endo engaged in unlawful marketing practices aimed at promoting the drug Lidoderm. In addition to the total settlement, Endo will pay a $20.8 million criminal fine to the Federal Government.
Endo unlawfully marketed Lidoderm to treat lower back pain or chronic pain between March 1999 and December 2007 even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved the drug only to treat pain associated with shingles. Once the FDA approves a drug as safe and effective, the manufacturer cannot legally market or promote the drug for a different use that is not approved.
North Carolina will receive $1,558,486.86 because Endo's illegal marketing of Lidoderm led to the submission of false and/or fraudulent claims to state health programs, including North Carolina's Medicaid program.
Endo Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of Endo Health Solutions, a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products based in Pennsylvania. The lawsuit was filed under the provisions of the federal False Claims Act and related state statutes.
The North Carolina settlement was reached by the Medicaid Investigations Division (MID) of the North Carolina Department of Justice and the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance. The MID investigates fraud and abuse by hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, mental health care providers, and others, as well as patient abuse and neglect in Medicaid-funded facilities. Over the past decade, Cooper's MID has recouped more than $500 million and helped to convict hundreds of individuals on criminal charges.