Latebreakers: October 23, 2006

October 23, 2006

Specialized Pharmacy Services and its parent corporation, Omnicare Inc., have agreed to pay $52.5 million to settle one of the largest Medicaid fraud cases in Michigan. The company was charged with billing Medicaid for medication dispensed to beneficiaries who were deceased and failing to credit Medicaid for drugs that were not consumed, among other charges. As a result of the settlement, a Corporate Integrity Agreement will be in place for two years; it is designed to improve the company's Medicaid billing practices and to demonstrate the company's commitment to comply with Medicaid pharmacy policy and procedure.

Medicaid fraud case settled

Specialized Pharmacy Services and its parent corporation, Omnicare Inc., have agreed to pay $52.5 million to settle one of the largest Medicaid fraud cases in Michigan. The company was charged with billing Medicaid for medication dispensed to beneficiaries who were deceased and failing to credit Medicaid for drugs that were not consumed, among other charges. As a result of the settlement, a Corporate Integrity Agreement will be in place for two years; it is designed to improve the company's Medicaid billing practices and to demonstrate the company's commitment to comply with Medicaid pharmacy policy and procedure.

Heart warning coming for Gleevec

Contraceptive gains new indication

Wal-Mart expands $4 generics

Less than two weeks after first announcing it will offer 291 generic drugs for $4 at its Tampa Bay, Fla., locations, Wal-Mart revealed that it will expand both the list and the scale of the program. (For more on the impact of the original announcement.) Adding 23 more generics to the list, Bill Simon, executive VP of professional services at Wal-Mart, announced that the program will roll out across Florida immediately and nationwide by Thanksgiving. He claimed the pharmacy filled 36,000 new Rxs during the program's first 10 days at Tampa Bay locations and that the generics accounted for 30% of the company's pharmacy business. Critics were quick to dispute Wal-Mart's figures and cast doubt on the impact of the generics on Wal-Mart's list. The list of drugs Wal-Mart is offering for $4 "represents about 1% of the total number of drugs available," said NCPA executive VP/ CEO Bruce Roberts, R.Ph. "The question people should be asking Wal-Mart is, 'What will you be charging for the other 99% of the medications that people need?'"

Colorectal cancer drug gets FDA nod

Monoclonal antibody panitumumab (Vectibix, Amgen) is now approved for the treatment of colorectal cancer that has metastasized following standard chemotherapy. The new therapy was approved on the basis of a trial involving 463 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who underwent treatment with oxaliplatin (Elox-atin, Sanofi-Aventis), fluoropyrimidine, and irinotecan (Camptosar, Pfizer). The mean time to disease progression or death with panitumumab was 96 days versus 60 days in patients receiving best supportive care. Eight percent of panitumumab patients experienced tumor shrinkage, some exceeding 50% of the pretreatment size. As part of the approval, Amgen will conduct a postmarketing trial examining whether the drug improves survival in patients receiving fewer prior chemotherapies.