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Medicaid fraud charges yield $26.6 million for state

In a Medicaid fraud case brought jointly by the federal government and five states, the pharmaceutical companies of Par Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Par Pharmaceuticals Companies, Inc., have agreed to pay $154 million.

The federal government will get the largest share; Florida's portion of the settlement (for all parties) will be $26.6 million, according to Attorney General Pam Bondi. Other states to receive compensation are Texas, Alaska, South Carolina, and Kentucky.

The case began with allegations filed by a Florida whistleblower under the False Claims Act. Ven-A-Care of the Florida Keys, Inc., will receive $9 million from the settlement. It's not the first time the company has blown the whistle on fraud. Ven-A-Care has collected more than $100 million from other successful lawsuits against drug companies for pricing schemes similar to the one that resulted in a settlement from Par Pharmaceuticals.

The companies were alleged to have set false and inflated prices for medications dispensed by pharmacies and other providers so that they were reimbursed at too high a price by Florida (and other state's) Medicaid programs.

Other drug companies Ven-A-Care has reported for Medicaid fraud in the past that then went on to pay settlements (not necessarily in Florida) include Schering-Plough/Warrick Pharmaceuticals, Dey, Boehringer Ingelheim/Roxane Laboratories and Baxter Healthcare Corp.

Source: Office of the Attorney General of Florida, "Attorney General Bondi's Office Recovers More Than $26 Million From Pharmaceutical Company in Medicaid Fraud Settlement," August 25, 2011

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