Thursday, December 20, 2012

Atty-General Madigan Announces Amgen to Pay $1.7 million in Penalties to Illinois

Attorney General Announces Settlement with Amgen Inc. over Kickbacks, Illegal Marketing of Drugs that Defrauded State & Federal Health Care Programs

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined her state counterparts across the country and the federal government today to announce a $612 million settlement with the pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. The settlement resolves allegations that Amgen illegally promoted six of its drugs to defraud state and federally funded health care programs, including $1.7 million in false claims submitted to the Illinois Medicaid program.

The states and the federal government alleged that Amgen offered kickbacks to medical professionals for pushing Medicaid patients to use the drugs Aranesp, Enbrel, Epogen, Neulasta, Neupogen and Sensipar, which are primarily used by older patients. The states also alleged Amgen illegally marketed and promoted Aranesp, Enbrel and Neulasta for medical uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Amgen’s use of taxpayer dollars to influence what doctors prescribed created significant risks for vulnerable patients in Illinois’ Medicaid program,” Madigan said.

Under the settlement, Amgen will pay $612 million in civil damages and penalties to compensate Medicaid, Medicare, and various federal health care programs for harm suffered as a result of its conduct. Amgen also pled guilty to federal criminal charges related to drug labeling and FDA reporting. The company must also enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General that will closely monitor the company’s future marketing and sales practices.

Specifically, the states and federal government alleged that Amgen:

• illegally marketed the drugs Aranesp, Enbrel and Neulasta;

• illegally offered or paid kickbacks to medical personnel for pushing certain drugs to Medicaid patients;

• knowingly reported inaccurate Average Sales Prices for Aranesp, Epogen, Neulasta and Neupogen;

• knowingly reported inaccurate Best Prices and Average Manufacturers Price for the six drugs by failing to include payments to health care providers in exchange for their purchase of Amgen products in violation of the Medicaid Rebate Statute.

This settlement is based on 10 whistleblower actions brought by private individuals pursuant to state and federal false claims acts and filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Assistant Attorney General Joseph Chervin handled this case on behalf of Madigan’s Medicaid Fraud Unit and participated in the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units team that conducted the investigation with the federal government and settlement negotiations with Amgen.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Federal Court's 7th Circuit in Chicago Orders IL to Allow Concealed Carry

In a landmark legal decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Illinois to stop blocking citizens from the right to carry concealed weapons.

Illinois is the only state in the nation to still prohibit the right to carry concealed guns.  The laws in other states allow for the carrying of concealed weapons after a citizen applies for a concealed carry permit, and after they have taken a course on gun safety. 

Many of the arguments made in Illinois over the years against allowing for concealed carry, have not been shown to be true in the rest of the nation.

Those who back the right to carry weapons say criminals ignore gun laws, and the prohibition against carrying a handgun for protection, only injures those who are law-abiding.   Supporters of the right to carry a concealed weapon also note that a massive number of murders have taken place in Chicago over the last decade, where despite the fact that Chicago gun laws prohibit the carrying of guns. 

Under the decision issued today by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Illinois lawmakers will have up to 180 days to write and pass a law that would legalize the right of citizens to carry a concealed gun.

Atty-Gen Madigan Sues Firm for Sec of State Form Scam

December 11, 2012

Madigan Alleges Company Used Secretary of State’s Office to Con Businesses to Pay Unnecessary Fees

Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed suit against a Michigan company that purported to work on behalf of the Illinois Secretary of State’s office in an attempt to con Illinois businesses into paying hundreds of dollars in unnecessary fees.

Madigan filed the lawsuit earlier today in Sangamon County Circuit Court, alleging Corporate Records Service sent direct mail solicitations to Illinois corporations in an attempt to collect a $125 per-business fee for an “Annual Minutes Records Form.” The company operated the scheme under a guise that these solicitations were sent from Secretary of State Jesse White’s office, though Illinois does not require corporations to fill out such a form or pay any fee.

“These bogus letters may look official, but companies in Illinois that receive them should promptly put them where they belong: in the garbage can, because neither the form nor the fee are required by Illinois law,” Madigan said.

“My goal from the day we first learned of this scam has been to notify the public and business community to protect Illinois corporations from becoming victimized, as well as to work toward obtaining reparations for those companies that have been victimized,” said Secretary of State Jesse White. “Filing suit against this company is the next step in the process. My General Counsel’s office and Secretary of State Police have worked closely with the Attorney General’s office in this case, and I applaud Attorney General Madigan for her decision to prosecute this company.”

Madigan and White’s offices have received dozens of complaints and hundreds of calls from Illinois corporations about the scam. The lawsuit asks the court to ban the company from such solicitations and refund any Illinois corporation that paid fees to the firm. Madigan’s suit also asks the court to assess civil penalties based on violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

Assistant Attorney General Cassandra Karimi is handling the case for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.