Conway Announces Settlement with Pharmaceutical Firm

Oct 26, 2012

Attorney General Jack Conway Friday announced that Kentucky has joined with other states and the federal government to settle allegations that Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. paid kickbacks and engaged in off-label marketing campaigns to promote some of its drugs.

BIPI, a Connecticut based company, will pay the states and the federal government $95 million, of which $34,468,649 will go to the Medicaid programs, to resolve civil allegations that the company unlawfully marketed Aggrenox, Combivent, Atrovent and Micardis and thereby caused false claims to be submitted to the government health care programs. Under the settlement, according to a news release from Conway's office, Kentucky will receive nearly $811,000 in recoveries. After reimbursing the federal government for its share, Kentucky will retain more than $255,000 for reimbursement of the state Medicaid program.

Specifically, this settlement resolves allegations that BIPI unlawfully marketed these drugs for a variety of non-FDA approved indications, including Aggrenox for certain cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction and peripheral vascular disease; Combivent for use prior to another bronchodilator in treating Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; and Micardis for treatment of early diabetic kidney disease.

"Drug companies that market their products for off-label purposes are breaking the law and putting the public's health at risk," Conway said in the news release. "I am pleased that Kentucky was able to participate in this settlement and that BIPI has agreed, as per a Corporate Integrity Agreement required under the settlement, not to engage in this type of deceptive behavior in the future."

Additionally, the settlement resolves allegations that BIPI knowingly promoted the sale and use of Combivent and Atrovent at doses that exceeded those covered by federal health care programs and that BIPI knowingly made unsubstantiated claims about the efficacy of Aggrenox, including that it was superior to Plavix. Finally, the agreement resolves allegations that the company paid kickbacks to health care professionals as inducement to prescribe.