(Columbus, OH) – Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that Ohio has joined other states and the federal government to reach an agreement in principle with pharmaceutical manufacturer EMD Serono to settle allegations of causing false or fraudulent claims for Rebif to be submitted to the Medicaid program.
"This is another example of our ongoing efforts to ensure that our limited Medicaid dollars are properly used for the health and welfare of patients," said Attorney General DeWine. "It also demonstrates the need for Ohio to have a false claims act. If Ohio had its own false claims statute, our share of the recovery would have been greater."
Attorney General DeWine joined Ohio legislators in support of a state false claims act. A bill has been introduced in the Ohio Senate and is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Civil Justice.
In this case, EMD Serono agreed to pay the participating states and the United States $44.3 million, plus interest. Medicaid programs nationwide will receive approximately $19 million of the total settlement.
Ohio's state and federal recovery is $894,626. Ohio's share of the settlement is $437,216, which will be reimbursed to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Medicaid is funded jointly by the federal and state governments.
Rebif is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system, in order to reduce the number of flare-ups and slow down the development of physical disability associated with MS.
From March 2002 through December 2009, EMD Serono offered and paid health care professionals for activities such as promotional speaking engagements, attending speaker training, advisory and consultant meetings, educational grants, and charitable contributions. Ohio alleged that at least one purpose of these payments was to induce those professionals to prescribe Rebif.
The investigation was initiated by a lawsuit filed under provisions of the Federal False Claims Act. This action was pending in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.
A team representing the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units participated in the investigation and conducted settlement negotiations with EMD Serono on behalf of the states.
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Lisa Hackley 614-466-3840
Mark Moretti 614-466-3840