Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals accused of illegal marketing, paying kick-backs to medical professionals
OLYMPIA - Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that Washington joined with other states and the federal government to settle allegations that Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) paid kickbacks and engaged in off-label marketing campaigns that improperly promoted Atrovent, Combivent, Micardis and Aggrenox. BIPI, a Connecticut company, will pay the states and the federal government $95 million, of which $34.5 million will go to Medicaid programs. The settlement resolves allegations that the company's conduct caused false claims to be submitted to government health care programs.
Washington state's share - calculated based on the amount the state's Medicaid program lost due to the improper conduct- is $612,280. Of that amount, $293,311 is returned to the federal government to cover its share of losses in Washington state (Medicaid is funded jointly by the states and the federal government) and $318,969 will be placed in the state Medicaid Fraud Penalty Account subject to legislative appropriation.
The settlement resolves allegations that BIPI unlawfully marketed drugs for a variety of non-FDA approved treatments, including:
- Aggrenox to treat heart problems such as heart attacks and peripheral vascular disease
- Combivent for treating Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Micardis for treatment of early diabetic kidney disease
The settlement also resolves allegations that BIPI knowingly promoted the sale and use of Combivent and Atrovent in doses that exceeded those covered by federal health care programs and that BIPI knowingly made unsubstantiated claims about the effectiveness of Aggrenox. Finally, the agreement resolves allegations that the company paid kickbacks to health care professionals as an incentive to prescribe BIPI drugs.
As a condition of the settlement, BIPI will enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, which will closely monitor the company's future marketing and sales practices.
A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (NAMFCU) Team participated in the investigation and conducted the settlement negotiations with BIPI on behalf of the states.
Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725