(Atlanta - 14 December 2001) Attorney General Thurbert Baker today announced that a nationwide settlement had been reached between the nation's Medicaid programs, the United States Department of Justice and TAP Pharmaceutical Products, Inc. over illegal billing practices concerning TAP's drug Lupron. TAP Pharmaceutical has also entered a plea of guilty in federal court to one count of Conspiracy to Violate the Prescription Drug Marketing Act. The conduct that formed the basis of the criminal prosecution and settlement with Georgia's Medicaid Program concerned TAP conspiring with participating physicians to bill the Medicaid program for its cancer-treating drug Lupron substantially more money than authorized under state and federal law.
In announcing the settlement, Attorney General Baker stated that his office, "would continue to vigorously prosecute anyone, whether physician or manufacturer, who attempts to defraud our Medicaid program. This conduct, especially where it concerns a drug used in the treatment of cancer, is reprehensible, and we will continue to work to make certain that Georgia's citizens are not shaken down when they are billed for life-saving medication."
The nationwide settlement totaled $56.7 million dollars, and TAP Pharmaceuticals also agreed to enter into an agreement with the Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services to ensure truthful billing of Medicaid in the future. Georgia's share of the settlement is $1.3 million dollars, with slightly more than half of that amount going to reimburse the federal government for their share of funding for the state Medicaid program. Georgia's Medicaid program received a check for $519,515.31, which consisted of $229,304.94 for reimbursement, $282,386.97 for Medicaid penalties, and $7,823.40 in interest.
The state's case was handled by Senior Assistant Attorney General Charlie Richards, who serves as head of the State Health Care Fraud Control Unit.