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State Lawsuit Against Amgen Revived

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A case that was originally dismissed by a U.S. District Judge William Young, for failure to properly identify a false claim for Medicaid payment as required by the state’s false claim laws,  has been revived by the 1st Circuit Court. In the original lawsuit, seven states had intervened as plaintiffs in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that Amgen Pharmaceuticals defrauded Medicaid to boost sales of Aranesp, and anemia treatment drug.

Federal and state false claims laws impose liability on people or companies that defraud government programs. Kassie Westmoreland, a former Amgen employee, claimed the Amgen put up to 19 percent more Aranesp into each single-dose vial as a freebie, then encouraged health care providers to bill the overage to Medicaid, and offered sham consulting agreements, honoraria and luxury retreats to encourage providers to buy Aranesp, Courthouse News Service has reported.

While Judge Young dismissed the claims by the state that plaintiffs failed to identify state laws that expressly conditioned Medicaid payment on compliance with anti kickback statutes, because the state’s Medicaid provider agreements were so broad, a Boston federal appeals court rejects the judge’s reliance on that requirement, saying “The question here is whether claims submitted to the seven state Medicaid programs misrepresented compliance with a precondition of payment recognized by those particular programs.” The three-judge panel found that the burden had been met with New York, Massachusetts, California, Illinois, Indiana and New Mexico, but not Georgia.  “It bears emphasis that Georgia, unlike the other six states involved in this litigation, does not have a state law analogue to the federal AKS,” Lynch wrote, referring to the Anti-Kickback Statute, as reported by Courthouse News. disclaimer: This article: State Lawsuit Against Amgen Revived was posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 at 4:32 pm at and is filed under Fraud Lawsuits.

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