Florida awarded $21.5M in Bristol-Myers Squibb settlement

Jul 17, 2008

South Florida Business Journal--July 16, 2008

South Florida Business Journal

Florida was awarded $21.5 million as part of a global settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and its former wholly owned subsidiary Apothecon, Attorney General Bill McCollum said Wednesday.

The state will receive $8.1 million from its share of the settlement, of which $3.9 will be returned to its Medicaid program and $4.1 million will be returned to the state’s general revenue. The remaining $13.3 million will go to the federal Medicaid program for the state.

The global settlement total, which includes Medicaid amounts for all of the participating states, is $389 million plus interest. The settlement resolves allegations of illegal drug marketing and prescription medication pricing.

Florida’s participation in the suit was handled by the Attorney General Office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

"This settlement represents a victory for the Florida taxpayers, whose hard-earned dollars contribute to funding our Medicaid program, and the recipients of the program whose basic medical needs could not be met without adequate funding," McCollum said in a news release. "Florida will not tolerate actions that undermine the Medicaid program and pass the increased cost on to taxpayers."

According to Attorney General’s Office, the settlement addresses several allegations against Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY):

    * Reporting inflated prices for various prescription drugs.
    * Making illegal payments to physicians, health care providers and pharmacies in exchange for purchasing Bristol-Myers Squibb and Apothecon products.
    * Promoting the sale and use of Abilify, an antipsychotic drug, for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
    * Misreporting sale prices for Serzone, an antidepressant, resulting in the improper reduction of the amount of rebates paid to state Medicaid programs.

As part of the settlement, Bristol-Myers Squibb has also entered into a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under which the company will be required to report accurately its average sales prices and average manufacturers’ prices in the future.