Washington state part of national settlement with Kos pharmaceuticals
OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that Washington has joined with other states in reaching an agreement with Kos Pharmaceuticals, Inc., to settle allegations that the company engaged in kickback violations and off-label marketing of its cholesterol-treatment drugs, Advicor and Niaspan.
Of the $163,696 received by Washington state, $46,692 will be paid to the state’s Medicaid program and $34,718 is sent to the general fund. The rest is returned to the federal government to cover its share of Medicaid funding. State settlement amounts are calculated based on how much was improperly spent on products within a set time period.
The settlement is part of a larger one reached between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana and the U.S. Department of Justice. Kos will pay $41 million to settle claims and a $3 million criminal fine.
Federal and state authorities say Kos engaged in off-label marketing of Advicor and Niaspan, paying kickbacks to doctors to encourage them to prescribe the drugs for treatments not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Doctors were compensated to be part of quality initiatives, teaching programs and advisory boards, among other benefits.
So far this calendar year, the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has recovered $24,970,629 through legal action against drug companies.
Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725