Business Briefs

NC to receive $1.2M in Amgen settlement

Posted December 20, 2012 1:17 p.m. EST

Medicaid fraud

— North Carolina will receive nearly $1.2 million from a national settlement with pharmaceutical company Amgen over false Medicaid claims, State Attorney General Roy Cooper said Thursday.

The agreement is part of $612 million settlement reached this week with 49 states and the District of Columbia. State and federal authorities contended that the California-based company illegally marketed the drugs Aranesp, Enbrel and Neulasta, and offered or paid kickbacks to influence health care providers to prescribe the drugs and others.

Authorities also said Amgen knowingly reported inaccurate prices, which caused Medicaid to pay too much for the drugs.

“Causing Medicaid to overpay for drugs wastes tax dollars, prevents patients from getting needed care and drives up health care costs for all of us,” Cooper said. “We are continuing to crack down on Medicaid fraud to protect patients and save money.”

In addition to the settlement, Amgen has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of misbranding Aranesp in violation of federal regulations, Cooper said.

“The government raised important concerns in the criminal prosecution, Amgen acknowledges that mistakes were made, and we did not live up to our standards,” Cynthia M. Patton, senior vice president and chief compliance officer, said in a statement posted on the corporate website. “This (agreement) is aligned with the significant changes and enhancements we have made to our compliance program and demonstrates our commitment to fostering a culture of compliance at Amgen.”