The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the great State of Georgia is getting about $12.1 Million as its share of the $449 Million settlement from Bristol-Myers Squibb in the federal government’s (and 43 states’) suits against the company for fraudulent marketing and pricing of prescription drugs for Medicaid. Payments went out Tuesday for the settlement, which happened in September.
The allegations were that the companies made false claims about the drugs and their prices, driving up the sales and prices of the drugs. They also paid what amount to kickbacks to doctors (mainly psychiatrists) who prescribed their drugs for uses not approved by the FDA. For example, they aggressively marketing Abilify as an antipsychotic drug for children and dementia-related psychosis, but the FDA has not approved Abilify for those uses.
Federal law requires that pharmaceutical companies give their lowest prices to Medicaid programs. Bristol-Myers Squibb were jacking up prices.
Big pharma is so completely out of control that they consider payments like this as part of doing business in the USA.
You can almost hear their board members… “Well, if we jack up the prices and pay kickbacks to doctors to prescribe our newer, expensive drugs for uses the FDA hasn’t approved (instead of cheap lithium, which we used for years), we can make $ Billions! The psychiatrists are always ready to do whatever we tell them to do–without us they’d be broke because nobody wants their services. So what if people die and we get sued — it’s just the cost of doing business!”
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