Multiple pharmaceutical companies have disclosed the receipt of subpoenas from various U.S. Attorney’s offices, including Massachusetts and the Southern District of New York, related to the companies’ patient assistance programs. Patient assistance programs also have been the subject of recent Congressional inquiries related generally to the increasing price of certain prescription drugs.
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Pharmaceutical company Organon Inc. agreed to pay $31 million to settle federal and state allegations that it underpaid Medicaid drug rebates, provided kickbacks to nursing home pharmacy companies, promoted its antidepressants for unapproved uses, and misrepresented its drug prices to state Medicaid programs. The settlement resolved two False Claims Act (FCA) qui tam whistleblower suits.
On July 31, 2013, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Walgreens, Inc., requesting additional information about the pharmacy chain’s participation as a contract pharmacy in the 340B Drug Discount Program. While the letter does not allege any wrongdoing by Walgreens, it does express interest in the details of Walgreens’ contract pharmacy operations. Grassley notes concerns expressed in a 2011 Report by the Government Accountability Office regarding possibly reduced program oversight and increased diversion risk with respect to contract pharmacies. Grassley also appears interested in the potential for pharmacies to profit from their 340B contract pharmacy arrangements.