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

ause it treats beneficiaries like commodities instead of patients," said Assistant Attorney General Peter D. Keisler. "The Justice Department will continue to hold drug companies accountable for fraudulent pricing schemes designed to give windfalls to drug companies and doctors at the expense of federal health care programs for the poor and the elderly."

The investigation commenced after the filing of a False Claims Act suit by Ven-A-Care of the Florida Keys Inc., a home-infusion company. The Act allows for private persons to file a qui tam or whistleblower suit on behalf of the government. If the government is successful in resolving or litigating its claims, the whistleblower may receive a share of the recovery. As part of this settlement, the Ven-A-Care whistleblowers will receive approximately $32 million as their share of the settlement.

"Again, a corporation has been caught fraudulently inflating the cost of a drug used primarily to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments without regard to the increased costs borne by government health care programs or elderly and indigent patients," said U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta of the Southern District of Florida. "Corporations cannot continue to mislead the government into paying vastly exaggerated prices by exploiting a health care system based on trust and fair play."

As part of a condition for continuing to work with providers who do business with the Medicare and Medicaid programs, Aventis agreed to enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services that, among other things, will require the company to report accurate average sales prices and average manufacturer's prices for its drugs covered by Medicare and other federal health care programs.

"Fraudulent drug pricing and marketing schemes divert scarce Medicare and Medicaid resources away from patient care," said Daniel R. Levinson, HHS Inspector Gener
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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