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Aventis Pays More Than $190 Million to Settle Drug Pricing Fraud Matters
Date:9/10/2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc. has paid the United States and a number of states, as well as the District of Columbia, over $190 million to resolve allegations that the company caused false claims to be filed with Medicare and other federal health programs as a result of the company's alleged fraudulent pricing and marketing of drugs, the Justice Department announced today. Aventis is now known as sanofi-aventis U.S. Inc. and sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC.

Aventis, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical manufacturers, has agreed to settle False Claims Act allegations concerning its pricing and marketing of Anzemet, an antiemetic drug used primarily in conjunction with oncology and radiation treatment to prevent nausea and vomiting. The government alleged that the pharmaceutical company engaged in a scheme to set and maintain fraudulent and inflated prices for Anzemet knowing that federal health care programs established reimbursement rates based on those prices.

The United States alleged that Aventis used the difference between the inflated prices that it reported, which were used by federal programs to set reimbursement rates for health care providers, and the actual prices for the drugs charged to its customers in order to market, promote and sell Anzemet to existing and potential customers.

The difference between the reimbursement rate of the federal health care programs and the actual price paid by health care providers is commonly known as the "spread." The larger the spread on a drug, the larger the profit or return on investment for the provider. Because reimbursement from federal programs was based on the fraudulent, inflated prices, the United States contended that Aventis caused false and fraudulent claims to be submitted to federal health care programs.

"Marketing drugs to doctors based on potential profits undermines confidence in the integrity of our health care system bec
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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