Pharmacy pays $9 million to settle kickback allegations

October 9, 2015

A Kentucky pharmacy will pay $9.25 million to resolve allegations it received kickbacks from a manufacturer for recommending physicians prescribe a certain drug.

A Kentucky pharmacy will pay $9.25 million to resolve allegations it received kickbacks from a manufacturer for recommending physicians prescribe a certain drug.

Federal prosecutors alleged that PharMerica Corp. of Louisville solicited and received kickbacks from Abbott Laboratories for promoting Depakote for nursing home patients.

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According to the government, PharMerica received the kickbacks in the form of rebates, educational grants, and other financial support from Abbott.

PharMerica specializes in dispensing medications to residents of long-term-care facilities, including nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities.

"We owe nothing less in fulfilling our duty to ensure that nursing-home residents are provided with the appropriate drugs based upon their needs rather than the business interests of the companies providing the drugs," U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Giorno told the Associated Press.

Giorno said the PharMerica settlement should send a message to pharmaceutical companies and their clients that their activities are being monitored.

 

Abbott previously agreed to pay $1.5 billion to settle allegations it pushed Depakote for patients with dementia and autism, even though the FDA had not approved it for those uses. The drug is approved for bipolar disorder and epilepsy.

"Elderly nursing-home residents suffering from dementia have little control over the medications they receive and depend on the unbiased judgment of healthcare professionals for their daily care," Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer told the Associated Press. "Kickbacks to entities making drug recommendations compromise their independence and undermine their role in protecting nursing-home residents from the use of unnecessary drugs."

In May, PharMerica agreed to pay the government $31.5 million to settle allegations it dispensed Schedule II controlled drugs without a valid prescription and violated the False Claims Act by submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare for these improperly dispensed drugs.