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Alpharma Settles False Claims Act Suit for $42.5 million

A multi-state agreement was reached between 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Alpharma Inc. on June 8 to settle allegations of kickbacks and off-label promotion of its drug, Kadian. A whistleblower receiving $5.33 million of the total $42.5 million settlement initially filed the lawsuit in 2006 under the False Claims Act.

Between January 2000 and December 2008, Alpharma allegedly paid kickbacks to doctors to encourage them to prescribe Kadian or both approved and off-label uses. The company achieved this by offering and paying for training programs, consulting forums, research grants and speakers’ bureaus for healthcare professionals in an effort to increase prescriptions of Kadian. These practices violated anti-kickback laws prohibiting drug companies from offering inducements to physicians for the purpose of influencing their prescribing practices. As such, they caused fraudulent claims to be presented to the government and therefore violated the False Claims Act, as well.