Actavis Group Whacked for $202 Million

     DALLAS (CN) – Subsidiaries of Iceland-based Actavis Group will pay $202.6 million to settle claims they overcharged the federal government and several states for drugs.



     A $118.6 million settlement was filed on Dec. 29 in Boston Federal Court, one day after Texas announced its own $84 million settlement.
     In February 2011, a state jury in Austin ordered units of the generic drugmaker to pay $170 million for overcharging the Texas Medicaid program.
     In the larger settlement, Actavis settled with the federal government, New York, Florida, South Carolina and Iowa. The federal, Florida and Texas civil cases were filed by Ven-A-Care of the Florida Keys, a specialty pharmacy.
     Ven-A-Care sued under the False Claims Act and similar laws in Florida and Texas.
     Ven-A-Care has settled more than 20 lawsuits since 2000 that allowed state and federal governments to collect about $3 billion, and collected more $400 million in whistl-blower fees, including $15.6 million for the most recent two settlements, according to Bloomberg News.
     In its complaint, Ven-A-Care claimed that Actavis defrauded the federal and state governments by falsely reporting inflated prices of drugs, and that it knew the governments would use those false reports to set higher reimbursement rates for Medicaid.
     The Justice Department did not join the case, although it recovered $108 million.
     “The U.S. declined to intervene, which means the Justice Department didn’t invest any resources in the case,” Van-A-Care’s attorney James Breen told Bloomberg. “Ven-A-Care and its legal team funded and pursued the case, took all the risks, and will return over $108 million to the federal government. That’s exactly the way the False Claims Act is supposed to work.”

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