AG Van Hollen: Court orders forfeitures of $4.5 million against Pharmacia in pharmaceutical pricing fraud case

For More Information Contact: Bill Cosh 608/266-1221

MADISON — Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen announced today that a Dane County Circuit Court judge has imposed a forfeiture award of $4,578,000 against Pharmacia, Inc. in the fraudulent pricing litigation brought by the Department of Justice. The Honorable Richard J. Niess imposed a $1,000 forfeiture on each of 4,578 misrepresentations he found Pharmacia to have made or caused to be made that defrauded the Wisconsin Medicaid program.

The court order follows the Pharmacia trial from last February, at which the jury found damages totaling $9 million for the fraudulent pricing violations. Judge Niess also issued a permanent injunction against Pharmacia, directing the Pfizer subsidiary to adhere to Wisconsin law and “…not make or cause to be made any false statement of a material fact for use by the Wisconsin Medicaid Program in determining rights to a payment.”

Attorney General Van Hollen, who appeared before Judge Niess at a hearing in May to argue for the state’s forfeiture request, noted the significance of the three complementary remedies in this law enforcement action:

“First, the jury determined the amount necessary to make the Medicaid program whole. Second, the court ordered a substantial penalty to punish Pharmacia and deter others from engaging in this fraudulent pricing scheme. Third, the court has issued an injunction so that Pharmacia must obey the law under penalty of contempt,” Van Hollen said. “By any measure, it’s a resounding affirmation of our contention that the fix is simple: tell the truth.”

In all, the state of Wisconsin has brought actions against 36 pharmaceutical defendants alleging violations of the state’s Medicaid Fraud laws. Pharmacia was the first of the defendants to contest the allegations at trial. Amgen, Immunex and Baxter Healthcare settled prior to the Pharmacia trial. There are 32 remaining defendants in the litigation with more trials scheduled for March through May of 2010.