Drug company pays state to settle lawsuit

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Alpharma will pay Colorado more than $79,000 as its part of a multi-state settlement against the pharmaceutical company for fraudulent Medicaid claims.

The total settlement equals $19.2 million for states involved in the suit and the federal government. The allegations are that the company submitted false claims for the drug Kadian, a painkiller intended for the management of moderate to severe pain.

The lawsuit also claims Alpharma offered and paid for training programs, consulting forums, research grants and speakers bureaus about the safety and efficacy of the drug. The company also allegedly made and disseminated false statements concerning Kadian, and claimed that doctors received indirect forms of kickbacks from the company and prescribed it more frequently than those who did not. As a result, the Colorado Medicaid program was billed for drugs it might not have been without the company’s actions, the suit said.

Colorado’s Medicaid program spends $4 billion every year to cover the medical care of 700,000 qualified recipients.